Chiang Rai Biennale 2023 is a MUST Go event for all art lovers

By | Sat 16 Dec 2023

Thailand Biennale will be holding its third event over the coming five months in Chiang Rai, following the success of the past Krabi and Korat Biennale.

Chiang Rai Biennale 2023 is an extraordinarily successful collaboration between the government, which has been positioning its ‘Soft Power’ policy by supporting such creative and non-traditional endeavours, and the private sector, which includes very strong support by Chiang Rai’s numerous internationally renown artists and their fans.

Leading the charge is Chalermchai Kositpipat, creator of the famous White Temple in Chiang Rai, who has reached into his own pocket to put 30 million baht into the Biennale pot. Not to be outdone, his supporters have matched that amount and the Central Government has upped the ante by putting in a further 100 million baht. This incredibly well funded event also has support of the local government which has added to the pot, brining the budget for the Chiang Rai Biennale 2023 to 200 million.

The event, which opened on the 9th of December, and which will run until the end of April of next year, will feature 60 artists; 38 of whom have come from all over the world, from Rio de Janeiro to Naples, Tokyo to Santiago and 22 of which are home grown Thai artists who have received international recognition.

Thailand Biennale is an international contemporary art exhibition which will be integrated into, and take the lead in, a very special year for Chiang Rai province.

“This is a special year for Chiang Rai with many events and activities being organised by both the government and private sector. As part of the international Biennale 2023, the event is hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Chiang Rai province,” Wisut Bunchum, Director of Tourism Authority of Chiang Rai told Citylife this week. “We expect no less than three million visitors to the Biennale and around 2-3 billion baht into the Chiang Rai economy directly from this event. This high season will be excellent for Chiang Rai.”

“We have around 300 professional artists living in Chiang Rai,” continued Wisut, and most of them, even though they are not part of the official Biennale exhibition, will be actively involved in the art scene over the coming months, with many other exhibitions, talks, art workshops and activities held across the province including in far-flung districts such as Chiang Saen, Chiang Khong and Phan.”

Wisut went on to talk about the generosity of the Chiang Rai people, who have not only donated money towards these activities, but also up to eight rai of land for exhibition space as well as working together to support the shared vision of their province.

“For the first time ever, we will have a Thai curator on this international stage,” explained Chalermchai at the Chiang Rai International Art Museum this week.

“Thai people don’t often get a chance to see world class post modern, cutting edge and world class art,” explained Chalermchai. “Our theme for this Biennale is ‘Open World’ which I think is very appropriate as we intend to open the world of art to Thai people as well as open the world to Thai art.”

“This is a chance to expand minds, give people a chance to think and learn. I want them to come and read the captions; don’t just look. Read what the artists are thinking. This is how to open your world. You must read. Don’t just walk past and look. It is pretty, sure, but there is so much more to learn when you read about the thought process of the artist. Art isn’t just a pretty picture, and we would love to share these thinkings and ideas with people. Many pieces of art look weird, but they challenge the mind, perceptions. Come to Chiang Rai at this most important time in our city. Hopefully you will change your old opinions and mind and rethink, recalibrate and improve your thought and outlook. Come and look at new things, new ideas and new expressions.”

“All this money will come into our country,” he continued excitedly. “We want to foster creativity and imagination so that Thai people don’t copy others, but lead the way ourselves. Adjust our understanding of the world. I want children to come. This could be something new for children which could open their outlook. They don’t have to be artists to appreciate creativity.”

Chalermchai said that there will be hundreds of the world’s top contemporary art collectors as well as curators coming to Chiang Rai over the coming months, many from China, Singapore and cities from around the wold.

“When I went to the Germany Biennale all I saw was rich people,” said Chalermchai. “They all can go to Biennales around the world. I spend a fortune when I go to all these Biennales. Thai people can’t afford this. So this is an exceptional opportunity for Thai people. If lovers of art from around the world come here to see our art, even 500 people, it will be a massive amount of money coming into our economy and supporting our people, our artists, our community. Nearly everything is free. There are places with built-in entrance fees like Baan Dam and Suan Mae Fah Luang, but other venues which we put on are all free for all.”

“We believe that the Biennale will help inspire Thai artists to show off Thai art and culture and drive the country towards a creative economy,” said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of the Chiang Rai Biennale.

PM Strettha said, “We believe that the Biennale would help inspire Thai artists to how off Thai art and culture and drive the country towards a creative economy.”

TAT’s Wisut added, “We swant you to come to Chiang Rai and feel sabai – sabai travel, sabai prices and sabai destinations.”

Chiang Rai will also be holding two big New Year countdown parties, with one being at the city centre Clock Tower and the other to be held at Singh Park, Not only that, there is to be a Chiang Rai ASEAN Flower Festival held by the banks of the Kok River which will run from now until February. The highlight of this event will be the field of tulips, which as expected, will be a huge draw for social media posters.