There is a monumental shift taking place within Thai society, driven by the appreciation and cultivation of original fine art.
Spearheaded primarily by influential millennials and women; an exclusive group of art collectors has emerged in Bangkok. This group of young, well educated and globetrotting Thais is creating a thriving art scene from the ground up as they express themselves as the international art lovers that they are.
Madame Astrid, an art aficionado, long time art consultant for Fortune 500 companies in the US and the wife of the H.E. Ambassador of Colombia Andelfo Garcia in Thailand, she has been travelling around the world discovering talented emerging artists for the last 30 years and working diligently to cultivate an appreciation for art.
Her influence as a socialite in this 4 years is putting “fine art” on the map in a way that has never been done before and redefining Thai society desires.
Astrid shared with us that “The art wave happening in Bangkok is the same phenomenon that happened in the USA 30 years ago with wine appreciation, people were not accustomed to drinking wine in the US, and preferred local beer until wine companies started promoting and importing fine wines.
First, the elite started consuming it because it was a prestigious symbol, but it soon became available to the masses and morphed into a status symbol that everyone could experience.This was also mirrored in Thailand some years ago and now there is a plethora of wine bars and events that are enjoyed and accessed by all.
The same phenomenon is happening with art here, there are just a few art galleries, museums or public art spaces in Bangkok, and most of them exclusively showcase local art but the art wave have started. “I feel a responsibility to bestow my experience in the international art arena to promote international art in public spaces for the community to enjoy.
To promote art programmes in schools or to just attract people to place original art on their wish list to enjoy it at home with all the family”. I want to share one of the notes we received after our exhibits, it describes perfectly the creative effect that art produces.
“We greatly enjoyed our visit to La Femme and students came back brimming with ideas” Michael Case of Harrow International School. Art initiatives encourage youth to develop creative skills that are crucial in today’s job market. Art helps us express our values, it builds bridges between cultures and brings us together regardless of ethnicity, religion or age. Art helps to transform communities.
The myth that Thai people are not interested in art and that those with disposable income only purchase luxury fashion brands in lieu of fine art is being challenged. High profile millennials, businessmen and most notably influential women from all walks of life are joining up with seasoned art collectors like Kris Narongdej (CEO of KPN) Prayudh Mahagitsiri (CEO PM Group), Vinchen Phongsalthn (CEO Premier Group), have all participated in recent art auctions that have donated significant funds for different organisations.
In November 2016, Madame Astrid organised the first ever exhibit of international art at The Museum of Chulalongkorn, which exceeded expectations on many levels. Guests who attended the opening night were treated to a surprise international “Art Auction” which was the first of its kind in Thailand. One of the three Colombian artists who exhibited was sold out, and the other two artists sold 50% of their art. This is significant because 90% of the art sold was purchased by local Thais, which clearly indicates a prodigious shift in mindset.
This was just one of many art appreciation initiatives that Madame Astrid has been working to include many important players as top local and international schools, shopping centres, museums and the government. Leading companies such as as the Central Group has already engaged sponsoring various cultural meaningful exhibitions as the Augmented Reality “Frozen Planet” in January where leading international schools participated bringing groups of parents and students to enjoy and learn about “Save the Arctic Animals”.
Astrid is also working with leading international schools in an ambitious international art programme called “Creative
The beauty of original art is that it stimulates the senses, evokes emotions and soothes the soul. Art is a window that allows us to reflect and express ourselves in a unique and unparalleled way. There are no boundaries defining why we love a particular piece over another.
“High profile millennials, businessmen and most notably influential women from all walks of life are joining up with seasoned art collectors.”
An original piece of art can be the soul of a house, the centrepiece of an office, or a highly personalised expression of one’s external emotion. As the famous artist Thomas Merton once said “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Although the Bangkok art scene is a burgeoning one, it takes the whole society to embrace art education in daily lives. This is an invitation to all to visit art exhibits and museums, purchase art and sponsor art events.