By The Nation
The show, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Thai Rice Foundation and rice brand Tra Chat, commemorates Her Majesty’s 87th birthday on the 12th.
Queen Sirikit is renowned for her patronage and personal initiative in revitalising and promoting indigenous silk-weaving and craftsmanship traditions, which succeeded in winning the fabric global admiration and, equally important, creating sustainable income for thousands of people.
In announcing the exhibition, Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome noted that both the Queen Mother and her late husband, His Majesty King Bhumibol, were recognised as the country’s Supreme Artists – she for her decades-long dedication to cultural heritage.
“Her Majesty has worked tirelessly to preserve these ancient arts that represent our heritage and pride, and most importantly helped improve the overall wellbeing of her people while improving the skills of craftsmen,” he said.
“Her Majesty’s other significant endeavour was in accumulating the knowledge and resources to advance the quality of Thai rice, the country’s major cash crop and an integral part of Thai culture. Her advice on farming and strain improvement has improved everyone’s quality of life.
The ministry is encouraging citizens to wear Thai silk more often and has called on prominent Thai fashion designers to create contemporary clothing suitable for daily wear and international sale.
“Rice is a national treasure symbolising love and growth,” said Tra Chat chief operating officer Thiti Lujintanon. “Rice plantations in Thailand occupy over 50 million rai, so it’s a commodity essential to our national security, to both farmers and consumers, the dietary staple of over 65 million Thai people.
“Jasmine rice is internationally recognised thanks to its long grain, soft texture and aromatic flavour when cooked. No other rice varieties can beat Thai jasmine rice, making it the most famous rice in the world.”
The Thai Rice Foundation will have on display samples of Jasmine 105, Kor Kaw 43, Brown, Na Prung, Pathum Thani Jasmine, Khao Kam Phayao (black sticky rice), Puen Kama and Sangyod to illustrate how inseparable rice is to the Thai way of life.
Premium silk made at Baan Krua Nua in Bangkok, Khuntham Wat Somsri Baan Siew Noi in Chaiyaphum, Baan Don in Khon Kaen, Huaysai Suksawad in Lam Phun and Baan Tha Krajai in Surat Thani will be sold.
Visitors can watch a demonstration of how to store silk properly in the traditional way, hear a talk on the five much sought-after Benjapakee fabrics, see silk embroidered for Zin Bua sarongs, and enjoy celebrity chefs cooking with Chat rice.
Designer Ek Thongprasert will present a silk-fashion show on Thursday at 5pm. It will take place on a stage designed by Kenko Kuma – a Japanese architect known for integrating nature – to resemble rice terraces.