5 JUNE, 2023
For the next two years, Kamonpan will assist in-tangible institute in the curation of a group show for MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai. This exhibition will not only include select works from the Piphitmaya พิพิธมายา Collection of MAIIAM, alongside particular loans of works of art from Thailand and beyond; but also a year-long public program inspired by the artworks and artists of this endeavor.
The ‘MAIIAM Curatorial Fellowship’ (a collaboration between in-tangible institute and MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum), is created in the spirit of mentorship, seeking to mutually share curatorial research and curatorial methodology, with local responsiveness to the challenges of institutional display and collection of contemporary art in Thailand.
Zoe Butt: Why would you, an artist, apply for this Curatorial Fellowship?
Kamonpan Tivawong: I believe the world is full of possibilities and there is so much to learn. I don’t want to limit myself to just being an artist. Applying for the Curatorial Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my artistic expression in diverse aspects, where I can hopefully make a meaningful and positive impact in the art field.
As an artist of Lao descent, how has your cultural heritage informed your photographic practice?
I come from a village that is a historical tourist destination with a unique history and culture influenced by Laos, so I’ve seen many people and stories portrayed through media, especially photographs. It has shaped me to think outside of the box in photographic practice, to present things with a different aspect than what has been repeatedly presented, to avoid an overly romanticizing image.
Can you share a few of your favorite artists?
Here are some of my favorite artists
- Ai Weiwei, A Chinese conceptual artist and activist known for his provoking artwork and engagement of political issue, especially with China. He uses a wide range of mediums such as photography, sculpture and installation.
- Robert Frank, a Swiss – American photographer and filmmaker. He was one of the first photographers I learned about. His notable work is the book ‘The American’ where he road-tripped across America to document American society in the 1950s. What made him stand out to me was a series unlike the idealized images of American society that prevailed in the mainstream media at that time.
- Lek Kiatsirikajorn, a Thai photographer who works between commercial and personal projects. Most of his personal works are documentary in style, reflecting current natural and urban environments in particular color that makes the image appear semi-surreal. His works often present the connection between people or objects in landscapes with simple perspective.
What are some of the most memorable exhibitions you have seen?
One of the most memorable exhibitions for me would be ‘Lensational Rising’ in 2016 at Sleepbox Hotel, Chiang Mai. This exhibition was a collaboration between two organizations: ‘Lensational’, the organization that I volunteered at the time, and the ‘Daughter Rising’ Program that provides care and support for underprivileged women. This exhibition showcased the photographic works of these women, who took part in the photography program, provided by these two initiatives. What impressed me the most was the cooperation of all parties in this project, especially the participants who traveled from across the province of Chiang Mai. Although their work is not a perfect professional work, they really put their heart into it. This event gave them the opportunity to see the world with new possibilities, where their voices were valued and heard. It was also empowering for them to realize their own worth and abilities.
What are you most excited about in working with in-tangible institute and MAIIAM for the next 2 years?
I’m excited to be working between two organizations and I believe it will be a resourceful improvement for me to learn the unique workflow from each place, to exchange ideas and expertise with other professionals in this field of art. There are a number of tasks, including researching, managing, organizing, writing and much more that I am eager to learn through practical work. I hope this will be an unforgettable experience.
Kamonpan Tivawong (b. 1995, Sukhothai, Thailand) is a graduate of Photographic Arts at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University. A passionate photographer of Lao descent, with a love of the moving image, she is particularly interested in mixed media experimentation, alongside a fascination for how local ideas of culture can offer alternate narrative and creative process for her art. Intrigued by language (having studied English, German, Portuguese), Kamonpan became interested in curatorial work during her time in Chiang Mai, volunteering for various art and publishing projects in the Chiang Mai art scene, such as Project Coordinator for ‘Lensational Organization’ and undertaking internship at Fine Dae magazine.