Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist


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Divine Inspiration in Bangkok

Silom Road has airline offices on the verge of extinction, and faded "antiques". But it also boasts Bangkok's biggest and most colorful Hindu temple.

Kathmandu Gallery, Bangkok: Hindu Temple

Down the soi lies another kind of divine inspiration: the Kathmandu Gallery.

Kathmandu Gallery, Bangkok: Facade

Wedged between cafes and Burmese shops – the Myanmar Embassy is just down the road – the spearmint-green facade is worth a closer look.

Kathmandu Gallery, Bangkok: Front Door

Books. Photos. Divine Inspiration. What more could you ask for?

IKathmandu Gallery, Bangkok: Upstairs Gallery

How about some of the best photos in the region and beyond, hosted by one of Thailand's most well-known photographers, Manit Sriwanichpoom.

For years I've been preoccupied with how art can change lives and worldviews, and how artists can make and sell work which is more than mere decoration or status symbol. It is a rare artist who makes things HAPPEN and brings creative people together with communities.

Kathmandu Gallery, Bangkok: Manit

And with Kathmandu and other projects, Manit does this. Here he is hard at work.

Kathmandu Gallery, Bangkok: Manit's Book

I picked up a copy of this catalogue from his recent exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum.

Manit is most well-known for his photos featuring the Pink Man, the Thai poet Sompong Thawee. The Pink Man is cute. Kitsch. Garish. And ultimately disturbing. A fine way to critique materialism and politics.

Kathmandu Gallery, Bangkok: Pink Man

Kathmandu is a renovated shophouse – a work of art, and an ideal place to show it. Openings are convivial, held in a space which feels more like a home than the white box beloved of 20th century galleries.

Currently they're showing "Tourists" by Dow Wasiksiri, a glimpse of how ridiculous we travelers can appear to the locals. His lens also captures a different side to life in Thailand from the tourist brochures, like the condom-covered mobile phone in his Sanook [Happiness] series, an ingenious way to ward off a New Year's dousing during the Songkran water festival.

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