Thursday, August 9, 2012

Galleries in Bangkok that Feature Asian Artists


Internationally, Thailand is known for great horror films and rightfully so. But Thailand is more than that. Bangkok, in particular, is the home of many galleries that give space to Thai and other Asian artists some space to get noticed.

H Gallery


This was established by H Ernest Lee, an American, in 1999 and specialises in modern art. The work of emergent Thai and Asian artists takes centre stage. This gallery is situated in central Bangkok and is based in a colonial style mansion that is over 125 years old. The atmosphere is less formal and pretty amiable. There are two different exhibition spaces and the art on display covers two floors. Paintings, photography and textiles are displayed. There are regular exhibitions – sometimes once a month.

Opening Hours: 12.00 - 18:00 (Thursday - Saturday); Sunday - Wednesday by appointment or by chance
Location: 201 Sathorn Soi 12
BTS: Surasak
Tel:             +66 (0)1 310 4428      
How to get there: From BTS Skytrain Surasak Station (exit 3), walk about 10 minutes towards Narathiwat Road.

Tang Gallery


This gallery, as the name suggests, focuses on contemporary Chinese artworks. There are varies types of art on display and all sorts of mediums represented. There are exhibitions on a monthly basis by noted Chinese and Thai artists.
Opening Hours: 11:00 - 19:00 (Monday - Saturday)
Location: Unit B-28, The Silom Galleria
BTS: Surasak
Tel:             +66 (0)2 630 1114      
How to get there: From BTS Surasak Station (exit 1), turn right into Surasak Road and continue walking until you hit Silom, then turn right, walk pass The Holiday Inn Silom, and the building will be on your right.

Thavibu Gallery


This gallery presents contemporary art mainly from Vietnam, Thailand and Burma and its name is a compilation of letters from each of these countries. There are works from different Asian countries as well. The main focus is on artists who are young and upcoming and whose work  the gallery feels portrays the imaginative aspects of the culture and also make a statement about a broad range of social issues. Exhibitions are held on a regular basis.
Opening Hours: Mondays - Saturdays (11:00 hrs. - 19:00 hrs.)
Location: Suite #308, 3rd Floor, The Silom Galleria (Jewellery Trade Centre Building)
BTS: Surasak
Tel:             +66 (0)2 266 545-4      
How to get there: From BTS Surasak Station, take exit 1 and turn right into Surasak Road. Continue walking until you hit Silom, then turn right, walk pass The Holiday Inn Silom, and the building will be on your right.

Toot Yung Gallery


This was originally the vision of a Frenchman and this is and somewhat uplifting mix of gallery and meeting place that promotes young local artists and also brings in works from foreign artists. The gallery has partners both in Thailand and abroad and so can present a wide range of contemporary art that spans all media platforms – performing arts, mixed  media, live music, etc. The aim is to create a space for artists of all kinds to meet without borders and can be accessed by anyone with an artistic bent.
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 20:00
Location: 19 Prachathipatai Road (near Wat Tri Tossathep and Wisut Kasat Road)
Tel:             +66 (0)84 914 5499       

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Proper Etiquette in Bangkok


Although Bangkok may seem a city apart, it is still a part of Thailand. Westerners, called “farang” in Thai, flock to the city and a lot have chosen to take up residence there. In Bangkok, farangs are pretty much a normal part of everyday life and most citizens have become used to the mistakes foreigners make. It should always be remembered, however, that etiquette is important in Thai society and is much appreciated. Whilst most Thai are too polite to point out gaffes, they may go down badly. Any small gesture that shows some respect for Thai culture will, however, make your stay a lot more pleasant. Here’s how you can avoid the worst gaffes:

Smiles

Smiles are pretty much a good way to communicate with anyone and a good rule of thumb is to smile when you are not sure what else to do.

Wais

Wais are pretty complex to master because of the social standings of all parties. Foreigners are generally not expected to start one off but you could return one if offered. This is done by holding your hands in front of you as if you are praying and bowing slightly. In Thai society, one only offers wais to people who is your equal or who are of greater social standing.

Keep it cool

When it comes to a quintessential Thai expression, “Mai pen rai” is probably the best example. It basically means “Don’t worry no worries or never mind.” You should never let yourself get angry or show anger in public. You should not shout in public either. This will just lead to embarrassment all around.

Your head

In Bangkok someone’s head is considered sacred and you should never touch someone’s head or pass anything over it.

Your feet

Feet are generally considered dirty. Never use your feet as a means to point out something or to move something. You should also never point your feet at anyone or reveal the soles of your feet. Make sure in temples that you point your feet away from any Buddha.

Your shoes

Just like feet, shoes are considered unclean and should be taken off at the door. There are a number of places where it is good etiquette to remove your shoes before going inside. If you see a shoe rack outside, you should be prepared to take your shoes off.

Public displays of affection

PDA’s are discouraged. You seldom see Thai couples holding hands. Make sure to avoid touching anyone of the opposite sex in public.

Dress

It is easier to dress properly in Bangkok than you might think. Think about how you would dress if you were off to meet your new in-laws for the first time and adjust this for warm weather. Thais always seem to look polished despite the awful humidity and you should aim to emulate them. Women should generally look to cover up their shoulders and cleavage but can wear shorts and short skirts. You need to wear a top over your bikini top.

Temples

Temples generally have strict dress codes and these should always be adhered to. You should be barefoot and should not touch any of the monks. Don’t point your feet at any religious icons and, when in doubt, follow what the locals are doing.

Photos

You need to ask permission of people before taking their photos. Consider the spectacle if you went up to a group of stranger’s kids at home and started snapping photos. How would your local hot dog vendor like the same kind of attention?

The Royal family

Be respectful or risk landing up in jail. Whenever the Song for His Majesty the King or the Thai national anthem is broadcast or played you need to stop whatever you are doing and stand. Do not deface images of the royals.

At the BTS

People are very polite on public transportation in Thailand. People form orderly queues when waiting for the train. It is considered polite to offer your seat to the elderly or those that need to sit.

Tipping

Tipping is never essential but you should tip when a job has been done well. Like everywhere else a tip is expected in the hospitality industries and a lot of places incorporate a service charge into the bill so check for this before you add any more money.