MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok

MOCA is the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok. It is located in 499 Kamphaengphet 6 Rd., Ladyao, Chatuchak. This museum is a special, serene place and definitely worth a visit if you are in Bangkok. The MOCA is supposed to provide a solid platform in building “Art Society” in Thailand thus encouraging newcomer in various branches of arts. This is the museum’s vision.

MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art

MOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok*

At the MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok*

This museum was established by Mr. Boonchai Bencharongkul in honour of Prof. Silpa Bhirasri (Corrado Feroci) who is considered the ‘Father of Thai Contemporary Arts’. What is more, the MOCA is also supposed to appreciate the great favour of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

An artist at work - preserving the essence of Thainess at MOCA*

An artist at work – preserving the essence of Thainess at MOCA*

The Italian-born Prof. Silpa Bhirasri (1892-1963) worked mainly in Thailand and was ground-breaking in establishing modern art in Thailand. In addition, he was instrumental in founding Silpakorn University. In accordance with Prof. Bhirasri’s vision, the MOCA wants to protect and maintain Thai art and culture in order to preseve the esscence of Thainess for future generations. In this way, the art collections should reflect the basis of Thai culture.

An artful sculpture of Ganesha (Phra Pikanet) a Hindu God in Thai culture*

An artful sculpture of Ganesha (Phra Pikanet) a Hindu God in Thai culture*

Hence, the museum’s mission is to give Thai people and foreigners the opportunity to admire and appreciate Thai art and artists. In particular, Thai people of the younger generation should be strengthened in their love for the uniqueness of Thai culture. Thus, they can learn a lot about the artists’ inspirations and methods of creation in the museum.

These sculptures remind me of Thai court dolls, preserving Thai culture*

These sculptures remind me of Thai court dolls, strengthening Thai people’s love for  Thai culture at the MOCA*

The MOCA has five sections displayed on five different floors. Hence, the 1st floor has two halls in which the works of Prof. Chalood Nimsamer and Paitun Muangsomboon are displayed respectively. Both are National Artists of Sculpture.

Unusual sculptures and works of art*

Unusual sculptures and works of art at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok*

On the 2nd floor you find contemporary art of different themes and concepts such as social knowledge and Buddhism while on the 3rd floor there are creations displaying imagination in Thai contemporay art. For instance, there are works of the famous Thai National Artist Chakrabhand Posayakrit.

Displaying social knowledge and Buddhism in art, exhibition at MOCA*

Displaying social knowledge and Buddhism in art, exhibition at MOCA*

The 4th floor harbours works of one of my favourite Thai artists – Thawan Duchanee. He is also a famous and remarkable National Artist in Thailand and is considered a modern Buddhist artist. What is more, the highlights on this floor are three gigantic contemporary paintings called “The Three Kingdoms-Heaven, Middle Earth, and Hell” created by the artists Sompop Budtarad, Panya Wijinthanasan and Prateep Kochbua.

The works of Thawan Duchanee. modern Buddhist artist*

The works of Thawan Duchanee. modern Buddhist artist*

The Three Kingdoms-Heaven, Middle Earth, and Hell”*

The Three Kingdoms-Heaven, Middle Earth, and Hell at the MOCA*

Last but not least, the 5th floor is about international contemporary art and there are also paintings from the 19th century Romantic period of Queen Victoria.

International art at the MOCA*

International and Thai art at the MOCA attracts many foreign visitors*

Finally, we may say that the MOCA – Museum of Contemporay Art in Bangkok is a remarkable place created to preserve the display the essence of Thainess, Thai culture and art. Fore more information, I recommend you check out the museum’s website.

Yours, Sirinya

*all photos in this post, credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66




‘Songkran’ – The Thai New Year Festival

‘Songkran’ is the Thai New Year Festival which takes place from 13. to 15. April each year. Thus, it is a very important event in the Buddhist calendar since it marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. The term ‘Songkran‘ (สงกรานต์) stems from the Sanskrit word ‘saṅkrānti‘ which means ‘approaching’ or ‘passing’. It will say that the sun enters the constellation of Aries which is the first sign of the zodiac.

Songkran

Songkran in Ayutthaya, photo: JJ Harrison, wikimedia.org

Songkran in Ayutthaya, photo: JJ Harrison, wikimedia.org

The first association that may come to your mind when thinking of Thai New Year is certainly ‘water wars’ and ‘water guns’. Even though throwing and playing with water is not the only way of celebrating this event, water is used to symbolize the cleaning from all misfortunes of the past year. Thus, the New Year is welcomed with a fresh and clean start. For good fortune, Thai people would traditionally pour a bowl of water on family members, close friends and neighbours.

Nang Songkran 2013, Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: ardelgallery.com)

Painting from ‘Nang Songkran 2013’, Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: ardelgallery.com)

Thai New Year has also been a subject in traditional Thai arts. For example, in 2013 the prominent Thai style painter Sompop Budtarad presented his exhibition called ‘Nang Songkran 2013’ which included fabulous pictures of delicate and ethereal angels and goddesses playing with water, thus suiting the theme. It depicts ‘Nang Songkran’ who is the Thai goddess of Songkran.

Mahotorn Devi Nang Songkarn (photo credit: ardelgalery.com)

‘Mahotorn Devi’ by Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: ardelgalery.com)

Today, playing with water is very popular on New Year and it has also become a great tourist attraction. Thus, the bowl has evolved into a bucket and all kinds of water guns are used on this occasion. However, this is not all that Thai New Year is about – on the first day, the elderly are honoured and a ritual called ‘Rod Nam Dum Hua’ takes place in which young people pour a small amount of jasmine scented water on the palms of wise elderly people in order to receive their blessings for prosperity.

Playing with water by Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: thainame.net)

Angels playing with water by Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: thainame.net)

As a matter of fact, Songkran is also a family celebration because on the second day families get together at dawn and make donations to Buddhist monks. This day is also known as National Family Day. In addition, it is also the time when families make merit and visit temples. There is also the ritual of bathing Buddha statues (พระพุทธรูป) with scented water at home and in temples. What is more, New Year is also used as an occasion of cleaning the house for spring similar to the tradition of the Chinese New Year. During this time of the year, which is the hot summer season in Thailand, people like to eat the refreshing Khao Chae dish. This is a meal of rice soaked in water accompanied my some side dishes and condiments.

The following video demonstrates beautifully the fun and excitement of Thai New Year and the associated traditions.

Summing up, we might say that Songkran seems to be a very ‘refreshing’ festival that is also a family celebration when many Thai rituals come to pass.

Have a happy Thai New Year wherever you are!

Yours, Sirinya