Mango Art Festival: A Weekend-Long Showcase of Thai Contemporary Art
Story by Pasavat Tanskul
As everyone looks forward to the upcoming Songkran holidays, art lovers will be keeping themselves busy this coming weekend at Mango Art Festival.
Dubbed “the most complete art festival,” Mango Art Festival unites famous designers, trendy independent artists and renowned art studios from across Thailand to showcase visually striking and thought-provoking contemporary art, along with the latest design trends.
The festival will take place at Lhong 1919, the 19th-century Thai-Chinese riverfront venue, from Saturday, Apr. 3 to Tuesday, Apr. 6.
The festival aims to create excitement in Thailand’s art and design community, as well as abroad, while also seeking to drive the country’s creative economy forward. Attendees can participate in workshops, watch live performances, buy arts and crafts materials, and enjoy food and drinks.
“I created this festival to break down creative barriers,” says curator and festival co-founder Phathaiwat “Top” Changtrakul. “Art, design and performance can now share the same platform, because these are the ingredients that I enjoy in my daily life as a creative person.”
“It will be a very important event for artists, both big and small, to get together and have the opportunity to show their work to art lovers and collectors,” says visual artist and political activist Vasan Sithiket. “Thai contemporary art culture will be seen by the world.”
The four-day event will be split into five main zones:
The Bowen Hall features art from local and international galleries, including River City Bangkok’s Trendy Gallery, popular Thonglor gallery/cafe Palette Artspace, Chachoengsao’s Many Cuts Art Space, newly founded creative venue Offbeat Box, and Tokyo-based Clear Gallery, among others.
Wharf Hall displays collections from design studios and brands as well as freelance designers. This chic zone features hand-crafted Thai-style furniture from YOTHAKA (Suwan Kongkhunthian), a brass collection from Masaya, teak and stainless steel works from leading design firm Kenkoon, clay pottery from renowned artist Pim Sudhikan, and more.
The Chinese Mansion zone, split into three rooms, highlights works by independent artists such as female artist collective HERspective, textile artist Rungploy Lorpaitoon, and sculpture/graphic artists Tiwtus and Terdtanwa Kanama and illustrator Chutima Na-ubon of JAM art collective.
Shopaholics can head to the Sang Xing Court to buy handmade products and accessories including jewellery, textiles, wallpaper, ceramics, books, and more. You can also chill out, eat food, and sip on wine or beer.
There will also be a performance art stage for live shows including contemporary dance by Pavida Wachirapanyaporn and a performance art show titled “How Much? (Your Price)” by Witchukorn Tangpaiboon and hosted MOS (Museum of Something); the show explores the concepts of desire and value.
Mango Art Festival will also feature fashion shows, jazz music and DJ sets. Art talk forums will include expert Asian art curator Jorn Middelborg on Myanmar political art, Philip Cornwel-Smith (of best-selling book Very Bangkok) on “Rival Portrayals from Myths to Noir to Realism,” and moderator David Robinson on the young Thai artist movement.
Additionally, there will be special art exhibitions including rare artworks and personal displays of Thai art collectors and an “Art for Environment” exhibition curated by Ek Thongprasert and Wishulada Pantaranuwong.
“Mango Art Festival is a big step in the development of contemporary art in Thailand,” says designer artist Leyla Sandshiko. “It will be an explosion of consciousness for the Thai people. Contemporary art isn’t bound by rules. This is something new, something which will make people think and look at things in life from different angles.”
“The artists not only display the world but also contribute to the formation of modernity with their vision,” she adds. “The event will bring together both Thai and foreign artists to exchange their experiences and visions.”
All photos courtesy of Mango Art Festival