MOCA BANGKOK has been purposely built to showcase and exhibit the exceptional works of art collected over the past three decades by Boonchai Bencharongkul, whose passion for art runs deep. The museum is also intended as a tangible sign ofappreciation for the many great favours bestowed upon the Thai people by our beloved monarch, King Rama IX, and is dedicated to the honour of Professor Silpa Bhirasri, the “Father of Contemporary Art” in Thailand. MOCA BANGKOK displays works of art inspired by traditional Thai modes of expression alongside art that has been influenced by the introduction of Western artistic styles and techniques. Some 800 works selected from Boonchai Bencharongkul’s private collection are exhibited in the 20,000 square metres of well – lit white space. These artworks stand as a statement of Thai creativity, beliefs, and thought processes. They also place for the first time on permanent display, a large quantity of what can be considered the best works of Thai art-a testament to its overall quality – standing equal to that produced by any other country in the world. Thus, MOCA BANGKOK provides an insightful view into the country and its people.
I’ve been observing and studying the development of art in our country which has a very unique identity for more than three decades. I found that Thai arts have a strong commitment to Buddhism in both ideally and practically, we can say that those commitments are in our vain running through our bodies. We’ve absorbed the beauty of arts through the Buddhism works since we were young. Beginning with the image of Buddha that we pay the respect every day to the artistic beauty of the architecture at the temples which are the Cho Pha (gable apex), Raga Leaves (toothlike ridges on the sloping edges of a gable), also the mural in the small temples around the country.
In fact, every civilized society in this world starts to work in arts with the same principle but the Thai artists have an ability to combine the moral principal and extend the meaning of arts, especially in traditional moral. Moreover, they can give clearly reflection of the beliefs that exist in Thai culture. MOCA intentionally preserved in collecting many contemporary painting and sculptures of the past seven decades to present-day with highly hope that we can share wisdom and entertainment to the audiences. Also, we hope that we can give a good impression to people in the other countries who decide to visit Thailand with the murals in our museum that combine all the Thai-ness that they’ve ever experienced.
Many of these fine works of art from many great artists that exhibited in this museum was motivated by Professor Silpa Bhirasri, the sculptor from Florence, Italy who polished and pulled out the best potential of his disciples. He passed on his personal experiences and developed his disciples’ ideas whose thoughts were based on Thai culture and extended the thoughts to the contemporary arts that had been accepted by many civilized countries.
Through his teaching, he dedicated the effort and tenacity to his students as the art instructor and father, while he struggled with his own health and many obstacles that prevent him from working with some Thai people in government because he was an Italian working in Thailand during World War II. With all those reasons, we joined together to praise Professor Silpa Bhirasri and considered him as the Father of Contemporary Art. We hope that the first step of this museum will be the courage to the museums in other fields to unite and build the center of art in Thailand and be accepted internationally.
Since we are the new comer in the world art circle, we are trying to project the situations that happened in Thailand in different time. Start with the absolute monarchy period turned into democracy period until present. Now can be the worst period that lack of support from the Thai government because of the high unstable political reason. However, this period is also the time for all the artists have to survive in this hectic world and find their own standpoints to do what they love. Our museum will hold on to the determination of Thai artists to keep the identity of Thai art in past 80 years.
Museum of Contemporary Art-MOCA has been divided into 5 different sections:
Even though Mr.Boonchai is a successful business man in telecommunications and information technology industry, it is his passion and strong determination in carrying on precious traditional Thai art and culture for younger generations that have driven him to establish a temporary Thai Art Museum at Benchachinda 1 building on September 27th , 2000, while the permanent museum building was being planned and constructed.
On March 23rd, 2012 at 09.00 am. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided over the grand opening ceremony of Museum of Contemporary Art or MOCA BANGKOK. At present, MOCA BANGKOK is opened for all Thais and foreign visitors to admire and appreciate Thai art, the symbol of Thai civilization.
Being a solid platform in building “Art Society” in Thailand, as well as encouraging new comers in various branches of arts.
1. To preserve and protect Thai art and culture so they remain forever in the nation as an archetype that reflects the foundation of Thai culture.
2. To support and encourage artists to share their unique ideas to public.
3. To give Thais and foreigners an opportunity to admire the works of art created by Thai artists.
4. To give an opportunity to young generations to learn and study each artist’s process of creation, various methods and inspirations.
5. To grow awareness to the new generations about the love and loyalty in their culture and motherland.
6. To disseminate the works of arts to public.