"Isaan Way of Faith: Cultural Heritage from the Past to the Present" exhibition is now ready to let you to experience inspiration from folk art and contemporary folk art
"Isaan Way of Faith: Cultural Heritage from the Past to the Present" exhibition narrates stories from of Isaan folk art from "Phra Mai" (Wooden Buddha Statues) and "Hoop Taem" (Isaan Mural Painting), a naïve work of art of Isaan painters.
Assoc. Prof. Namfon Laisatrooglai, curator of the exhibition, said that she was inspired to curate this exhibition when she had seen "Phra Mai" in the Arts and Cultural Center, Khon Kaen University. She added that these "Phra Mai" are cultural heritage that should be conserved and the exhibition on these works of arts could also be a model for a folk art exhibition to publicize to a wider public, which is a crucial mission for the foundation of the National Art Museum.
This exhibition uses "Phra Mai" and "Hoop Taem" to narrate Isaan folk art history along with immersive digital technology to create seamless experience between reality and virtual technology.
"Phra Mai" are Buddha statues found in Isaan region. These were once commonly created to serve spiritual need in Isaan society. They also reflect lifestyle, tradition, and Buddhist wisdom, all of which are unique Isaan culture. The tradition of sculpting Buddha statues spread to many regions over many centuries. Isaan region also received this tradition from neighboring regions and consequently created a new wisdom in form of a cultural object, "Phra Mai", which are a blend of religious faith and local craftmanship. Sculptor of "Phra Mai" can be divided into 2 groups, the folk sculptors and sculptors influenced by royal artisans.
"Hoop Taem" is a mural painting of Isaan art. Although the painting looks simple, but it is an expression of faith and local wisdom. "Hoop Taem" depicts daily life of Isaan people, religious and historical tales, and Isaan literature.
On the opening day, Adjunct Professor Dr. Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, presided over the opening ceremony and Assoc. Prof. Chanchai Panthongwiriyakul, President of Khon Kaen University, gave opening remarks. "Isaan Way of Faith: Cultural Heritage from the Past to the Present" takes place from 22-27 March.
Adjunct Professor Dr. Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, said that "These two works of arts are unique to Isaan culture, and, an important folk heritage. Therefore, more efforts should be put into their conservation and they should be publicized to a wider audience. The 'Isaan Way of Faith: Cultural Heritage from the Past to the Present' is organized to show these works of arts to the public, preventing them from falling into obscurity. This exhibition is also a model for exhibition of folk art collection that will be displayed in the National Art Museum."
"Isaan Way of Faith: Cultural Heritage from the Past to the Present" exhibition was supported by National Research Council of Thailand and Thailand Academy of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (TASSHA) under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation. TASSHA was founded to propel research in social sciences, humanities, and arts in Thailand. The National Art Museum is one of the internal organizations of TASSHA and is responsible for establishing the new National Art Museum of Thailand, which will become a museum for exhibition and conservation of different kinds arts, e.g. Thai traditional art, contemporary art, and folk art, a cultural institution to promote new arts and artists for national and global recognition, an inclusive place of art learning for all ages from toddlers to elderly, and a creative economy organization to drive Thailand's economy, leading to tangible innovation from art and science.
"Isaan Way of Faith: Cultural Heritage from the Past to the Present" exhibition publicizes art knowledge in making "Phra Mai" and "Hoop Taem", distinctive works of Isaan craft art which reflect lifestyle, tradition, wisdom, and Buddhist belief in this region. "Phra Mai" show unique skills of sculptors and blend faith and perseverance to pay homage to the Buddha. And, "Hoop Taem", Isaan mural painting, depicts local Buddhist tales or Isaan literature, particularly Sinxay. This exhibition also displays "Phap Kak", mural painting which displays daily life of Isaan people, by Assis. Prof, Tanupon En-on.
The public talk in the topic of "Folk Belief and Cultural Heritage: how they can be conserved and their relation to creative economy" was also organized in this exhibition. During this public talk, experts from Thailand and abroad had a discussion about how local belief could be transformed into products or applied in creative economy to develop economy in local and national scale. The speakers presented many interesting topics, namely, "Conservation of Sculptures at the Tate Galleries" by Derek Pullen, Sculpture Conservator, formerly Head of Sculpture conservation, Tate Gallery UK "Curating and conserving heritage artifacts in French museums" by Alexandra Bosc, Independent Curator of Heritage "Digital Platform and Database for Museums to Preserve Cultural Heritage" by Assoc. Prof. Songphan Choemprayong, Chair of Department of Library Science, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University "The Relevance and Relationship of the Museum to the Contemporary Creative Industries" by Harriet Wallace-Jones , Co-founder of Wallace Sewell Woven Textile Design and Manufacturer, UK. "Taiwan Power by Design" by Oliver Lin, Vice President of Taiwan Design Research Institute (TDRI) "Converting Cultural Values of to Economic Values: A Case Study of Phra Maiin in Isaan Region" by Assoc. Prof. Niyom Wongphongkham, Vice President of Arts and Culture and Creative Economy, Khon Kaen University.
"This exhibition is an important event to publicize folk art and also a crucial step for conserving this art from fading from new generation's memory. I would like to invite those who are interested to visit this exhibition and I hope that this exhibition and the public talk will be insightful for the visitors." Assoc. Prof. Chanchai Panthongwiriyakul concluded.
"Isaan Way of Faith: Cultural Heritage from the Past to the Present" exhibition is open for visit from 22 to 27 March 2021 at Arts and Cultural Center, Khon Kaen University