Bangkok’s art hub to end all art hubs sits just a few hundred metres from S@S’s doors. BACC, or Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, is a true landmark—somewhere for locals and visitors alike to gather and appreciate art in all its wondrous forms. S@S Bangkok made the short trip to talk with Assistant Professor Pawit Mahasarinand, BACC’s Director, to get his take on the city’s art scene and give us his thoughts about the Siam neighbourhood in general.
How do you see BACC’s connection with the surrounding Siam area?
Pawit: Many foreign friends are surprised by our location because even in major cities with vibrant art scenes it’s rare to find an arts centre located right amid so many big shopping centres. Apart from checking out our diverse array of exhibitions and activities, many people visit BACC simply because they need some peace from the bustling city.
What role does BACC play in influencing the city’s art and cultural scene?
Pawit: For many years BACC has worked with artists, from home and abroad, masters and up-and-coming talents, across all disciplines. We always aspire to surprise our audience, to inspire them and make them feel that they belong. I think that when you see young highschoolers visit an arts centre like BACC on Saturday afternoon you can feel positive about the future. You don’t have to study art to love art and to frequent an art centre.
Who are some of your favourite artists?
Pawit: We have many of them in Thailand, so many that I cannot say which ones are my favourites. I like artists whose works are, for lack of a better word, controversial.
What are some of the big events we can expect at BACC soon?
Pawit: The themes we focus on each year vary. This year it’s “inclusivity.” Thus, we’ll have upcoming exhibitions, performances and film festivals that deal with topics of disability, therapy and LGBTQ+ issues. Later this year we’ll host Southeast Asia’s largest art exhibition focussed on LGBTQ+ issues, called “Spectrosynthesis II – Exposure of Tolerance” [23 Nov, 2019 – 1 Mar, 2020], which will include many performances, film screenings, seminars, discussions and more. We hope that through this the megaproject we can help push further for equal rights.
What do you like so much about the Siam neighbourhood?
Pawit: Siam has something for everyone, and I’m glad that I’ve spent the major part of my life in this area where I went to high school, university, and also taught for 25 years before coming to work at BACC. Actually, if you venture a bit further from the core of Siam to areas like Sam Yan and Suan Luang or National Stadium, you’ll even find such incredible diversity.
BACC, 939 Rama 1 Rd.
Open Tue-Sun 10am-9pm
Pawit’s Favourite Bangkok Spots
Many, cannot pick one
In the Siam Neighbourhood
In no particular order: Scala Theatre, Jim Thompson House, BACC, See Fah restaurant, Coca Suki, White Flower Factory restaurant, Dao Coffee, Da Mamma Italian restaurant, and the list goes on. Wait, why are there so many restaurants in this list?”