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Vol. 24 No.4
October - December 2007

ISSN 0125-0159

Editor's Note
His Majesty the King’s Intellectual Property as a Tool of Development
Her Majesty the Queen’s Model Farms for the Secure Life of Her People
Arts & Style
The Supreme Artist Hall in Honor of the Genius King
In Focus
The Election That Return Democracy to the Nation
Reversing the Erosion of Muddy Coasts: A Breakthrough by Thai Experts
A Center for Holistic Medicine in Chiang Rai
Special Feature
PRD Museum and Archive: A Learning Center on the Early Stages of Broadcasting and Public Relations
A Greater Sense of Security on Samui Island
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Photo Gallery    Text Print
The Supreme Artist Hall in Honor of the Genius King

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been recognized by the world community for his various artistic, cultural, and social contributions. His work in science, the arts, and human development has been highly appreciated by the general public and worldwide specialists, earning him numerous international awards, including the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award. Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented the award to His Majesty the King in Thailand to honor him for his persistent devotion and perseverance in contributing to the better life and greater prosperity of his subjects since his accession to the throne.

To honor the King for his great artistic and social contributions, the government had the Supreme Artist Hall constructed to record and showcase the Kings artistic and national development achievements. Construction started in 1996 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his accession to the throne. The Office of the National Culture Commission implemented the Supreme Artist Hall project, which was named after the Supreme Artist title that the office had given to the King in 1986. Apart from exhibiting the Kings genius, the well-equipped Supreme Artist Hall also showcases the works of Thai national artists, to serve the intention of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The Princess once stated, The works of national artists are a valuable part of our national heritage. They represent Thai civilization, which all Thai people should be proud of. The works of national artists have been disappearing for many reasons.

Therefore, it is urgently essential that we study their works and register the works systematically in the interest of promoting national education and protecting national assets in the long run. The Supreme Artist Hall functions not only as a vault to protect the valuable works of national artists but also as a place where national artists can exchange their experience and knowledge and transfer their expertise to students and other interested people. In this respect, the Supreme Artist Hall is a center for public education and research. The hall also facilitates cooperation and coordination between government and private agencies, both local and overseas, when they plan to organize events and activities and exchange artistic and cultural works.

The contemporary Thai architectural style of the Supreme Artist Hall prominently combines functionality with the Thai identity. The hall, which is the main building in the compound, exhibits the history of His Majesty the King and much of the work produced by the King as the Supreme Artist. The hall is situated in the middle of other buildings, which form a U shape. The formation of these buildings represents the concept that the Supreme Artist is surrounded by the national artists, who receive his patronage.

A highlight of the Supreme Artist Hall is the Supreme Artist room on the second floor. At the entrance of the room are touch-operated media introducing exhibits inside. Situated in the center of the room is a gilded wooden throne decorated with glass mosaics. Placed on the throne is a pedestal bearing a duplicate of the seal of His Majesty King Rama IX. Video presentation devices are installed at all sides of the throne base; they are automatically activated when viewers are in a kneeling position. The throne is flanked by two large glass panes bearing images of deities intricately etched by a sandblasting process. The backdrop behind the throne bears a mural also depicting god. These images represent deities gathering to pay respect to His Majesty the King. The Supreme Artist room displays several works that prove His Majesty the Kings artistic and cultural genius. The left part of the room presents his genius in landscape architecture through a video presentation and photographs of royal projects. Evidence of the Kings gifted handiwork includes photographs and a model of his Super Mod sailboat and the tools he used to build it.

This section also has narration. Representing the Kings literary talents are copies of his Thai translations of William Stevensons A Man Called Intrepid and Phyllis Autys Tito, and his original writing, the books Mahajanaka and The Story of Thong Daeng. These works are described with video presentation, narrations, and trivision boards. There are also works that demonstrate his talents in painting, sculpture, and photography, as well as a duplicate of the Supreme Artist plaque and boards containing his speeches and his story as the Supreme Artist. The third floor of the Supreme Artist Hall, through high-quality audiovisual media, introduces the King as a master of musical composition. A large showcase displays a photograph of His Majesty the King playing a trumpet, and there are many other photographs of the King on the curved ceiling.

In the Supreme Artist Hall, a number of rooms, equipped with modern media, showcase the stories and works of all recognized national artists. The national artists fall into four categories: literature, performing arts, visual arts, and architecture. The Office of the National Culture Commission has been selecting national artists since 1986, and there have so far been over 100 national artists. A highlight is the performing arts room on the second floor. The room exhibits the names, photographs, signatures, and profiles of national artists in this category. In addition, there are samples of shadow play screens, Thai musical instruments, movie posters, a small theater, Thai traditional dancers costumes, dioramas, and even a karaoke room where visitors may sing national artists songs.

The Supreme Artist Hall is part of a project to create a Thai Smithsonian Institution. It consists of a variety of museums in the same compound, which comprise the Supreme Artist Hall, the museums of geology, archaeology, ethnology, and science, and a national archive. Visitors can learn many things from one trip. The compound is situated in Tambon Khlong 5 subdistrict of Khlong Luang district, Pathum Thani province, a short drive north of Bangkok. It is another must-see place that attracts many visitors, both local people and foreigners.

Story: Suvalux Khenkum
Photos: Nara J.

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