Sunday, December 10, 2023
Homelifearts-and-entertainmentThe soft power of art

The soft power of art

In 2021, executives at Seacon Square made the decision to create a space known as Munx2, or Mun Mun, for three communities — the photography, coffee and food crowd — at Seacon Square Srinakarin.

Located on the 3rd floor, HOP – Hub Of Photography features two photo galleries, HOP Photo Gallery and Whoop! While HOP Photo Gallery displays collections created by established photographers, Whoop! showcases the works of emerging artists. These two galleries have received positive feedback and have attracted many young visitors and artists to Munx2. As a result, there have been more photo and art exhibitions held in the area.

In response to the growing interest in art, Seacon Square Srinakarin has expanded its art space by establishing MunMun Art Destination (MMAD). While Munx2 occupies 27,000m² within Seacon Square, MMAD uses 1,000m² of the 2nd and 3rd floors of Munx2 and aims to become a new centre for art enthusiasts. Since its opening last month, nine art spaces have been created by 10 different organisations and groups.

School of Architecture, Art, and Design – King Mongkut’s Institute of Techno­logy Ladkrabang.

Chakrapol Chandavimol, marketing director of Seacon Development, believes that MMAD is different from other art spaces.

“MMAD offers exhibitions that engage visitors’ five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Our crucial mission is to bring art closer to the community, including those who are not typically drawn to art. Thus, MMAD makes art approachable for the general public. People can feel that art is accessible. MMAD also provides more opportunities for artists to showcase their work,” said Chakrapol.

‘Re: Look’ at the BACC pop-up. MunMun Art Destination (MMAD)

Naris Wuthisakont, assistant marketing director, gave an example of an exhibition that appeals to the sense of hearing, “Sonic Seasoning”, created by TCDC Commons Creative Food and Hear & Sound. The exhibition presents the premise that the sound of food, such as the crunch of snacks and the refreshing fizz of soda passing through ice, can impact its taste.

“If people view art through social media, they connect with it through sight. When experiencing exhibitions in person, visitors connect with art through other senses as well. TCDC Commons Creative Food turns food into art; there are creative and stylish dishes, and visitors can experience these artistic dishes through multiple senses. The exhibition ‘Sonic Seasoning’ presents the soundscape of Thai street food,” explained Naris.

“Waruncharat Laaiadsin, an olfactory artist, displays her paintings created by mixing perfumes with paints at ‘Vibe-Bration 2023’ by PPP Studio. While non-visually impaired people can visually appreciate the olfactory paintings, visually impaired people can engage with these paintings through their sense of smell.”

When asked about the number of visitors to the HOP: Hub of Photography, Naris explained that they do not have records. However, as a photo art gallery, the Facebook page has around 16,000 followers. The assistant marketing director considered this number a success because these followers are people with a special interest in artistic photography. Naris also added that each month, approximately 2,000 to 3,000 students visit HOP: Hub of Photography for touring.

Created by TCDC Commons Creative Food, the exhibition ‘Sonic Seasoning’ presents the soundscape of Thai street food. Apaisuwan,Samatcha

“We are proud to inform that emerging artists who showcased their works at Whoop! have received attention from people in the art industry. A couple of artists were selected by Bangkok Art & Culture Centre to compete in international competitions,” said Naris.

To create exhibitions and other art-related activities such as talks, workshops and markets, MMAD is collaborating with 10 organisations — BACC; Creative Economy Agency; School of Architecture, Art, and Design King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang; HOP: Hub of Photography; Ground Control; Eyedropper Fill; happening; Pineapple Print Press; Palette Artspace; and The Rainbow Room.

“Our partners consist of four pillars — government organisations, private companies, social sectors and educational institutions. These four pillars are the components of our art community. Our partners share the same objective which is to make art more accessible to everyone,” said Chakrapol.

The assistant marketing director of Seacon Development recommended some exhibition highlights at MMAD.

“To formalise our collaboration officially, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the BACC to create exhibitions. The BACC pop-up at Seacon Square Srinakarin hosts exhibitions in two forms. The first type are exhibitions that were previously displayed at the original BACC, but are now presented from a new perspective. The other is new exhibitions, and there will be many of these throughout the year,” said Naris.

Ground Control presents ‘Childhood’ by Sahred Toy, an up-and-coming artist, who creates playful illustrations reflecting his childhood in the form of paintings and sculptures. ‘Homecoming’ by Eye Dropper Fill is an exhibition that addresses mental health. This edition is a mini exhibition featuring selected sections from the previous ‘Homecoming’ at River City Bangkok.

Pieces by Waruncharat Laaiadsin, an olfactory artist Apaisuwan,Samatcha

The exhibition by PPP Studio, ‘Vibe-Bration’, showcases works of 27 artists including Mr. Kreme, Lolay, Freak and Pod Art. Vibe-Bration is divided into three zones — Vibe Village, Viberuns and Vibesang — which present art pieces based on the character and presentation style of each artist’s work.

Happening presents illustrations created by Pira Ogawa, who was named most popular artist at the Bangkok Illustration Fair 2021. Pira suffers from tinnitus and creates illustrations in graphic and geometric styles as a form of therapy for his condition.”

Seacon Square Srinakarin is not the only shopping mall which houses art spaces. Does the increasing number of art spaces reflect more interest in art among Thai people or is it merely reflecting a communal desire for more social media content?

“I believe it is a combination of both. We have to acknowledge that some influencers use art as social media content. Therefore, we try to seamlessly connect with every group of art enthusiast. We believe that art can be Thailand’s soft power because many Thai artists have exceptional potential. If they receive support, have space to showcase their work and gain public acceptance, they can build a reputation for the country and we can play a small part in supporting them,” said Chakrapol.

Illustrations by Pira Ogawa. Apaisuwan,Samatcha

Expanding art spaces is not an easy task. Chakrapol revealed that they have to remain committed to their continuous efforts to achieve their goal because art is an abstract concept that can be difficult to relate to.

“People who understand get it, while others won’t. We try to support one another in any way that helps those who do not understand art to gain appreciation. It is our primary mission to make art accessible to everyone,” he said.

With a carefully curated selection of exhibitions, Chakrapol believes that MMAD can be an attraction for international visitors.

“Transportation to Seacon Square Srinakarin is now more convenient with the completion of the construction on Srinakarin Road and the operation of the MRT yellow line. Our car park offers 7,000 spaces free of charge. I believe that MMAD can be a visiting spot for international tourists and expats. I hope that MMAD will become a new art destination in Thailand.”

Ground Control presents ‘Childhood’ by Sahred Toy. Apaisuwan,Samatcha

‘Homecoming’ by Eye Dropper Fill. Apaisuwan,Samatcha

‘Vibe-Bration’ by PPP Studio. Apaisuwan,Samatcha

For more exhibition dates and details, visit facebook.com/MunMunArtDestination.

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