With just over a year before the launch of the 4th edition of Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB 2024), the Bangkok Art Biennale Foundation has chosen a theme that mirrors the uncertain world in which we live today.
Titled ‘Nurture Gaia’, it will focus on crisis and sustainability through a constellation of more than 200 artworks from around the world that explore important contemporary issues in relation to anthropology, collectivism, ecologies, feminism, and the politics of time and place.
Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, chief executive and artistic director of BAB, said the theme comes from Greek mythology and can be best explained as Mother Earth (Pramae Phosob). “It is more relevant than ever today as mankind struggles to save the earth for future generations,” he explains.
“And thanks to Khun Thapana (Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, CEO of ThaiBev) for giving the Thai term ‘Raksa Gaya’ (take care of oneself). We must take care of our minds in a world full of conflicts like the Russia-Ukraine war and the US-Chinarivalry.”
He adds that together the artists would send signals not only to their communities but also to the masses so that people realise the genuine meaning of Nurture Gaia (Raksa Gaya).
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, chairperson of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Foundation’s board, said she believes that the Biennale will be a good chance for Thai people to view arts from around the world. “Art is borderless and viewing good art fulfils our lives.”
A diverse array of artists from the Americas, Asia, and Europe ranging from established figures to emerging talents will showcase their works at BAB2024, which will run from October 24, 2024 to February 25, 2025. The first 15 participating artists to be announced are Agnes Arellano (The Philippines), Joseph Beuys (Germany), George Bolster (Ireland-USA), Louise Bourgeois (France-USA), Amanda Coogan (Ireland), Dusadee Huntrakul (Thailand), Yanawit Kunchaethong (Thailand), Prasong Luemuang (Thailand), the late Princess Marsi Paribatra (Thailand), Abraham Poincheval (France), Taiki Sakpisit (Thailand), Jessica Segall (USA), Pim Sudhikam (Thailand), Som Supaparinya (Thailand), and WISHULADA (Thailand)
Prof Dr Apinan will lead a dedicated curatorial team comprising Pojai Akratanakul, Curatorial Section leader, BAB; Dr Brian Curtin, art critic and educator; Akiko Miki, curator of the Benesse Art Site, and artistic director of Naoshima International; and Dr Paramaporn Sirikulchayanont, lecturer and former director of Silpakorn University’s art centre.
The team will be ably assisted by international advisors Marina Abramović, world-renowned performance artist; Lito Camacho, chairman, University of the Arts Singapore; Kim Camacho, art collector; Mami Kataoka, director of Mori Art Museum; and Dr. Eugene Tan, director of the National Gallery Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum.
The venues will include public spaces including Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) and the newly opened first phase of One Bangkok, as well as important heritage sites and temples including Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon MangkhalaramRajwaramahawihan (Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Pho); Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan (Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun); Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan (Temple of Iron Fences or Wat Prayoon); and Museum Siam, which is dedicated to the history and culture of the Thai people, situated in the heart of old Bangkok.
“Thailand is not just a tourist destination nor are Thais just dedicated to business. There are many things inside us – our soul and spirit – that encourage us to use the arts to express who we really are,” Kobkarn said.
Tourists, students, artists, and art aficionados from around the world are expected to visit Bangkok over the four months of the Biennale, which will help to stimulate the country’s creative economy and introduce Thailand and Thai artists to the world.
By Thai PBS World Feature Desk