Bangkok Art Biennale 2020
Despite the world pandemic, Thailand is moving forward with the Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 (BAB2020). Fortunately, on a global scale Thailand has done remarkably well in coping with the COVID-19 crisis, and the event organizers are putting every possible social distancing measure in place.
BAB2020 marks the second time this bi-annual art festival will be held, with an array of exhibitions, cultural events and happenings at various venues and landmarks across the capital. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Escape Routes’, and some 82 artists from 35 countries will showing their work from October 29, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
The contemporary art event welcomes world-class lineup of international and local artists. These include performance artist Marina Abramović, who participated in BAB2018 and is also part of the advisory committee; Elina Brotherus; Choy Ka Fai; Julia Fullerton-Batten; Dansoung Sungworavejaphan; Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch; and Yoko Ono, to name a few. Representing Thailand are well-known names that include Yuree Kensaku; Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook; Pen-Ek Ratanaruang; Michael Shaowanasai; and Rirkrit Tiravanija. For the full list of participating artists, click here.
Artworks are to be exhibited citywide across nine venues, including The PARQ, BAB Box, and The Prelude One Bangkok – from October 12, 2020 onwards — and at three historic temples Wat Pho (commonly known as Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Arun and Wat Prayoon, as well as at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), Museum Siam, and LHONG 1919.
“Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 has become an art event of global significance, which transforms Bangkok into a connecting hub for art and culture,” Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Bangkok Art Biennale enthuses. Adding that, “this year we have even more artists than the previous edition, which will help liven up both the tourism and the art scene.”
A special addition this year is the opening of ‘BAB Café’ on the 3rd floor of The PARQ, a newly purpose-built exhibition space of over 1,000 sqm. The café has an adjoining art gallery, with rotating exhibitions and activities by BAB along with over 25 artworks by 16 artists exhibited on the 15th floor.
In 2018, BAB launched arts apprenticeship program, ‘DEK BAB’ (‘dek’ meaning ‘youth’ in Thai) with the aim of nurturing youngsters interested in developing a career in the arts and culture sector. The program requires no prior experience or education and offers hands-on experience in contemporary art, working closely with renowned artists from around the world. DEK BAB apprentices act like ambassadors, sharing their ideas, feelings, and aspirations with artists. These contributions are intrinsic to the Bangkok Art Biennale.
Prof. Dr. Apinan is optimistic about this year’s festival. “With over 730 applicants, an increase from the previous edition, we're hopeful that BAB 2020 will offer a memorable experience and joyful inspirations for tourists and art enthusiasts from around the world”.
The inaugural edition in 2018 welcomed more than 2 million visitors. In support of COVID-19 precautions, three venues – The PARQ, BAB Box, and The Prelude One Bangkok – launched on October 12,2020 to better stagger visitor numbers.
BAB2020 is organized by the Bangkok Art Biennale Foundation, cofounded in 2017 by CEO and President of ThaiBev, Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi and the former Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Culture, Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of BAB.