The Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) is a biannual art festival that takes place in Bangkok, Thailand. This prestigious event, first held in 2018, has swiftly grown in prominence, attracting artists, curators, and art lovers from across the globe.
BAB invites artists, both local and international, to exhibit their works at several venues throughout the city. These venues include temples, public spaces, heritage buildings, and established art institutions, creating a rich tapestry of the old and the new, the traditional and the contemporary.
Art forms showcased at BAB are diverse and encompass a wide range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, installation, performance, and digital art. The works often reflect contemporary issues and dialogue with Bangkok’s unique cultural, historical, and social contexts.
A unique aspect of BAB is the utilization of religious spaces as exhibition venues. Significant temples in Bangkok, such as Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Wat Prayoon, become stages for contemporary art presentations. These juxtapositions create fascinating dialogues between tradition and modernity, faith and creativity, and spirituality and expression.
The artwork displayed is often thought-provoking and can be both politically and socially charged. Past editions have seen artists addressing topics like environmental sustainability, identity politics, migration, and technological transformation. For example, the 2020 edition under the theme ‘Escape Routes’ saw artists reflecting on global crises and offering potential pathways of escape and hope.
BAB also hosts a range of educational and public programs alongside the art exhibition. These programs include art workshops, guided tours, talks, and panel discussions, engaging a wider audience and fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of contemporary art.
How to get there:
Internationally, the easiest way to travel to Bangkok is by air. The city is served by two airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang International Airport (DMK).
By Air: Suvarnabhumi Airport is the primary airport serving international flights. It’s well connected to major cities worldwide. From the airport, you can reach the city center via airport rail link, taxi, or bus. Don Mueang International Airport mainly serves low-cost airlines and some domestic flights.
By Train: If you’re already in Thailand or nearby countries, you can also take a train to Bangkok. The city’s main railway station, Hua Lamphong, has connections to various parts of Thailand as well as to neighboring countries like Malaysia.
Once you’re in Bangkok, getting around is relatively straightforward. The city has an extensive public transportation network that includes the BTS Skytrain, MRT Subway, buses, and boats. Taxis, auto-rickshaws (tuk-tuks), and app-based ride services are also readily available.
BAB venues are spread throughout the city, and most of them are easily accessible via public transportation. For instance, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, one of the primary venues for BAB, is conveniently located at the BTS National Stadium station.
Remember, while visiting temples that are part of the BAB, it’s essential to dress modestly out of respect for local customs. This usually means covering your shoulders and legs.
Attending the Bangkok Art Biennale gives you the opportunity not only to witness a diverse array of contemporary art but also to explore Bangkok’s vibrant culture and rich history. The unique blend of traditional and modern landscapes serves as the perfect backdrop for this significant event on the global art calendar.