I am so proud to note that Chiang Rai province started a pioneer project to create a local map of the houses introducing renowned artists and announced that Chiang Rai was named "The city of artists". Cooperating with other Chiang Rai provincial organizations, the Chiang Rai Cultural Office also took part in this project officially by opening the houses of 100 artists who are ready to welcome and accommodate visitors. Thirteen artists are living in Chiang Rai and trying to help the community by using their works to generate income for their communities in various ways. In this area, there are many famous Thai artists who we knew quite well. The first person I want to mention is Thawan Duchanee. He called his house "Baan Dum" (Dark house) and it is situated at the 14th Kilometer from Chiang Rai. This home is also used as an art gallery and meeting place for visitors and Thawan who created many exceptional and outstanding works. Thawan said that many of his works harbor a symbolic interpretation of hell and evil. On the contrary, Chalermchai Kositpipat, another well-known artist who has different art concept from Thawan, exhibited his beautiful sculptures of heaven at Wat Rong Khun temple which is located at the 13th kilometer from Chiang Rai. Chalermchai used a large amount of money from selling his meaningful paintings and his strong faith in order to support Buddhism by building this marvelous temple.
Actually, I want to talk about a female artist whom I visited on 18th of August 2012. Her name is Nitaya Tamwong. In my personal view, her art works are simply beautiful and most of them are paintings of flowers. She is one of the 13 artists who has already opened her house to the public.
Her house is called "Suan Silpa Lark Si" (Colorful Art Garden). She told me that a simple way of life is the key concept of this house and all of her works. After Nitaya graduated from University of Technology Lanna Chiang Mai, she had constant art exhibitions in Chiang Rai where she was born. More importantly, Baan Thung Marn, where she currently lives, is a part of famous historical community called "Wiang Ka Long" which is full of ancient kilns and potteries. The total area starts from Vieng Pa Pao district in Chiang Rai province to Wang Nua district in Lam Pang province and there are about 1,000 kilns. From this, it is assumed that clay in this area is exceptionally suitable for making earthenware. When the potteries are burnt properly, they are quite thin and have beautiful colors.
Nitaya Tamwongis a person who assists visiting explorers, artists and conservation travelers. She also provides information and writes papers with educational institutes to know and understand local archeology and how to draw flowers and leaves in the house. At the back of the house are rice fields of the family and Wat Prathat Mon Prachao Lai on the mountain. In the evening the lights from the temple are very charming.
Nitaya is an artist who stays at her home but she has had many art exhibitions since the year 2000. Her "Colorful Art Garden" is the art gallery which happily welcomed many visitors and art collectors. As I mentioned, she is one of 13 artists whom many organizations in Chiang Rai asked to exhibit her works at least once a year. Every September, Colorful Art Garden will become the place that people can see and appreciate her latest work. In addition, she wants to provide accommodations for kids and teenagers as well as cultural explorers and travelers.
Moreover, it is not so difficult for many people to visit the nearby hot springs and observe the remnants of Wiang Ka Long kilns. It can be said that provincial organizations and cultural centers truly support a woman who loves art and community. She combines simplicity and a truth of life from the real world and depicts this in her colorful paintings of flowers. The varieties of colors for flowers are important components which provide timeless beauty. From 5th – 20th October 2012, Nitaya will open a new exhibition at 9 Art Gallery and Architect studio in Chiang Rai.