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  • Oct 26, 2017

First Thailand Biennale To Launch In 2018

Jiang Jiehong, director of the Centre for Chinese Visual arts in Birmingham, will lead the curatorial team of the first Thailand Biennale. Photo from the Birmingham City University.

The first Thailand Biennale is set to launch on November 2, 2018, running until February 28, 2019. Organized by the Thai Ministry of Culture’s Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, the Biennale’s inaugural edition will be held in Krabi province, which is known for its comfortable, relaxing pace of life, lush nature and beach resorts. The biennial's curation will be helmed by Jiang Jiehong, director of Birmingham City University's Centre for Chinese Visual Arts.

The four-month-long presentation will be mounted at outdoor sites of “historical, natural and cultural significance” across Krabi, including the Than Bok Khorani and Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Parks, and feature newly commissioned, site-specific artworks created by emerging artists. These will include ten artists’ proposals that will be chosen by Jiang and an international jury, as well as works by more than 70 Thai and international artists.

Thailand’s Krabi province, where the first Thailand Biennale will be held, is known for its tropical climate and lush nature. Photo by Wokshots via Wikimedia Commons.

The theme for the first Thailand Biennale is “Edge of the Wonderland,” and the curator will set out to tie art with nature. In addition to the wonderland explored by Alice as imagined by Lewis Carroll, the Biennale's presentation will reference East and South Asian “wonderlands” grounded in Chinese and Hindu mythologies, in which nature and its primal forces play prominent roles. The “edge” in the Biennale’s theme implies the geographical location of Krabi, along the west coast of Thailand; Krabi’s provincial seal that shows two crossed swords believed to hold mythical powers; and the border between “reality and fiction, the existent and the imagined, the material and the spiritual . . . the known and the unknown.”

In addition to the site-specific exhibitions, the Biennale’s programming includes discussion panels and artist workshops. An award will be given to “the most talented artist.”

As the Thailand Biennale takes place, the first Bangkok Art Biennale—led by former permanent secretary of Thailand's Ministry of Culture, Apinan Poshyananda, and financially backed by food and beverage mogul Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi—will be presented at the same time, drawing visitors to the country’s capital.

Helena Halim is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.

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