The work of 14 contemporary Thai artists goes on display in Melbourne from tonight.
RMIT University is one of the major sponsors of the project, which spans the mediums of installation, sculpture, media art, drawing, painting and photography to showcase the diversity of Thai culture.
Supporters of the showcase, which will be in the city until 23 March, include the RMIT School of Art Gallery and RMIT Link.
The show opens tonight at Screen Space from 6pm to 8pm on the ground floor, 30 Guildford Lane in the CBD, where it will continue until 23 March.
The other key parts of the program are:
- RMIT University School of Art Gallery - opening Wednesday, 13 March, 5-7pm until 22 March in Building 2, Level B, Bowen Street (off Latrobe Street), City Campus, Melbourne CBD.
- Federation Square - A pop-up gallery housed within a shipping container from 13 March to 20 March in the Amphitheatre.
- Public program - A panel discussion at The Edge, Sunday, 17 March, 4pm-5.30pm, Federation Square.
The showcase is known as The Hua Krathi Project, which is being promoted as: Hua Krathi [Thai, noun.] - 1. The first extraction from the flesh of the coconut; 2. Coconut cream that is distinctively used in Thai cuisine; 3. A Thai expression that describes the elite, the top of the class, the charismatic and the influential.
The show is being curated by Rushdi Anwar, Melanie Jayne Taylor and Shukit Panmongkol.
Mr Anwar and Ms Taylor both graduated from RMIT with a Master of Fine Art in 2010 and Mr Anwar is now doing a PhD in Fine Art in the School of Art at RMIT.
Ms Taylor, who is Co-Director of the Australian Thai Artist Interchange, said the artists work represented a divergence from the traditional mediums and approaches to art making and offered Australian audiences a taste of this fresh contemporary approach.
"Shifting away from the exotic and tropical identity of Thailand, the project explores the conflicts between the rural and the urban Thai landscape, while addressing contemporary developmental issues of the socio-political, the cultural and the personal," she said.
"Similarly to how Hua Krathi - the cream of the coconut - is used to bring a richness to the diversity of flavours in Thai food, each artist in The Hua Krathi Project brings conceptual and contextual finesse to create artworks in a mélange of mediums that reveal the range of issues that face modern Thai society."
Ms Taylor said the program, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Melbourne Thai Culture and Food Festival, also featured artist and visiting international curator talks at RMIT.
These will include artists Santiphap Inkong-ngam, Kornkrit Jianpinidnan, Paphonsak La-or, Lipikorn Makaew, Ohm Pattanachoti, Kata Sangkhae, Thasnai Sethaseree, Vipoo Srivilasa, Sutthirat Supaparinya, Tul Suwannakit, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Jedsada Tangtrakulwong, Jakraphun Thanateeranon and Kawita Vatanajuyankur.
Ohm Pattanachoti, Tul Suwannakit and Kawita Vatanajuyankur all graduated from RMIT and Kata Sangkhae is a current PhD candidate in Fine Arts at RMIT.
Ms Taylor said The Hua Krathi Project aimed to assist the cultural exchange between Australia and Thailand through a greater understanding and awareness of the synergies that exist between Australian and Thai culture.
"The project will also strengthen the relationship between our two countries and nurture future collaborations," she said
The showcase is also being sponsored by The Australian-Thailand Institute, Victorian Multicultural Commission and Thai Airways International.