Back for a fourth installment, the after-dark Art of Three Piers festival will once again light up two old neighbourhoods on the ‘other’ side of the river.
At last year’s Kadeejeen Art of Three Piers, a heritage-championing community festival on the Thonburi side of the river, we had an evening to remember, one that restored our faith in the capital’s commitment to preservation and sense of community spirit. We strolled along backstreets lit up by the glow of funky lighting installations, down riverside streets with space set aside for video screenings, through shophouse-communities lined with heaving market stalls, into parks alive with live music and dance performances, as well as church courtyards filled with people and the strains of classical folk music.
As we write this, the culturally-inclined flâneur in us has its fingers crossed for this year’s edition, which, after a run of small events at specific locales since November, culminates on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 with the neighbourhood wide Art of Three Piers: Art in Tune – Accents of the Folk festival. Now in its fourth year, this festival is aimed at promoting conservation of the Kadeejeen and Klong San communities, both historic areas famous for their multicultural population, yet-to-be compromised architecture and traditional way of life. To that end the organisers, which include the local community and around 70 state and private organisations as well as the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA), have lined up a series of art and culture events between 5pm until 9pm each evening.
Highlights you can expect to stumble across include lighting installations. Last year students from Chulalongkorn, King Mongkut and Silpakorn universities each created a series, and you can expect more of their weird and wonderful creations to light up proceedings this time around. Another is a walking street along Trok Dilokchan. This old, shophouse lined alley located a short walk from Saphan Phut bridge and connecting to Klong San’s Princess Mother Memorial Park will be lined with stalls selling snacks and trinkets.
There will also be live music performances as part of OK Pasa, a series of concerts that have been highlighting the multiculturalism of the area. While other performances have featured songs relating to the western and Mon-tribe influence, among other ethnic groups that have lived in the area in the past, this one will focus on Chinese ditties.
Other activities include a “Three Piers’ cycling tour by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, or BMA (last year they took place in the mornings and there were free bikes available, but check the Facebook page to be sure); a walking tour of an old Chinese tycoon’s white mansion; and an intriguing sounding art installation entitled “Half-Being”.
Though it doesn’t appear to be playing a big role in the festival, we also recommend seeking out Wat Prayoon, a Buddhist temple near Saphan Phut (Memorial Bridge) with an imposing white chedi ringed by a circular cloister. Atmospheric at night, it was built by the Bunnags, an influential Persiandescended family that had a big impact on the area. Head back towards the bridge from here and a riverside walkway also runs northwest up to the Santa Cruz Catholic Church, formerly the heart of the Portuguese community, and on to another important Buddhist temple, Wat Kalayanamit. Bangkok’s growing sketchbook community will also be doing its thing in the area, with groups from Malaysia and Singapore flying in for the weekend-long Sketchwalk Chaophraya festival especially. Details on how to register for this can be found at a separate Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sketchwalkchaophraya.
Art of Three Piers: Art in Tune Accents of the Folk
Saturday 23-Sunday 24 5-9pm at the Kadeejeen and Klong San neighbourhoods | Facebook: Love Kadeejeen