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  1. #1
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    The National Gallery, Bkk

    One of the nice elements of my job is that we train tour-guides; not much work really, the Thais conduct in-class lessons for half the course, and I take them out and about for the other half...

    I've never been to the National Gallery, so on Friday I split two groups of 15 prospective TGs, and we went there to research the place - I spent the entire afteroon there.

    So, a quick overview:

    You could split the Gallery into 4 areas (or more). When we entered we turned right (the first gallery you come across) into a couple of rooms which contain the standard Thai royal pictures/portraits. Frankly, a very unfortunate start due to the limited quality of the work and just boringness of it all. After 10 mins in this gallery, we all felt that this may have been a bad choice...

    Up the stairs to another gallery: full of ancient Buddhist art and high quality Thai historic art. Excellent. Very interesting and beautiful pieces, but with limited context/descriptions... I was lucky that four of my students were Art History majors, so they were able to tell many of the stories behind these pictures; an thoroughly enjoyable hour spent in this gallery.

    Down the stairs to a gallery that started off with some Thai uniforms (military not university!!!) and portraits of hi-sos etc; it took 2 mins to walk through that area... Then we entered a pretty large 'main gallery' that started off with fairly boring and average quality 'standard pictures' before it increasingly became an area of modern art; 50 to 100 very interesting pictures - some 'multi-textual pieces', 'multi-modal' pieces and 'cross-medium' pieces. They were very very interesting; you could have spent a couple of hours looking over the pieces - the best Modern Art I've seen in Thailand by a very long distance; so much to talk about... One picture had a large elephant stomping over dead and decaying elephants in a post-apocolyptic type environment. The 'stomping elephant' had a golden palace atop of it - full of galavanting Pandas. Another picture had rabid 'polticized' dogs ringed around raping each other and the environment. Really strong social and political comments within beautiful pieces of art. Many other pieces had other reflections, of course; we could have chatted over these paintings for many hours...

    Lastly, we came across an exhibition by Nir Segal - very cutting edge modern art stuff, and really interesting; basically, he's an Israelli artist commenting upon Bangkok via various mediums. An excellent exhibition, but was it/was it not art??? The students had different views.

    All in all, this was a very enjoyable trip that you should try, if you're around Bkk. The exhibits change all the time; the Nir Segal exhibit is from 8th to 30th July, so you pays your money and takes your chances... The sad point is the start; pure Thai propaganda of the most boring kind, but just ignore that, or bypass it/look in for a couple of minutes at the end - enjoy the other areas to the full.
    Last edited by Bettyboo; 24-07-2010 at 12:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    That sounds a very interesting place. I will enjoy spending some time there when I next have the opportunity.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat ossierob's Avatar
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    I enjoy galleries partly because of the expressions of freedom within. This one does sound very constrained but I will nevertheless check it out....Thanks

  4. #4
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Banned for deleting Gallery
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo
    One of the nice elements of my job is that we train tour-guides; not much work really
    Why is it not much work would you say, does this mean it's not done very well and they are not trained much, or that there is just no requirement from their employer for it to take up much time? I would have thought being a tour guide is something where they are learning all the time, and would be if they were to be any good at it. The best ones I remember here were a mine of information, but that was in surin not Bkk. The ones I recall from Bkk may years ago were pretty poor and unable to answer even basic questions about Thai history if it deviated from their script. One disappointing aspect of the tour biz is covering the same old ground all the time at the same old places.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazy dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo
    One of the nice elements of my job is that we train tour-guides; not much work really
    Why is it not much work would you say, does this mean it's not done very well and they are not trained much, or that there is just no requirement from their employer for it to take up much time? I would have thought being a tour guide is something where they are learning all the time, and would be if they were to be any good at it. The best ones I remember here were a mine of information, but that was in surin not Bkk. The ones I recall from Bkk may years ago were pretty poor and unable to answer even basic questions about Thai history if it deviated from their script. One disappointing aspect of the tour biz is covering the same old ground all the time at the same old places.
    Yeah, thanks for your valued comment...

    Not much WORK because it's enjoyable, and could hardly be called work at all...

  7. #7
    Banned for deleting Gallery
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    Touchy you, you said not much work, you should have put it differently perhaps or have gone into it in more depth, than just a visit around a gallery.

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    ^ You tried to have a dig, but just made yourself look silly... The thread is about the gallery, not the courses.

  9. #9
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    No I did not try to have a dig at all, you should have said not much like work if you are this sensitive about it, and not much work, get a grip will ya.

  10. #10
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    ^ okay, sorry - my misunderstanding.
    (I'll ask the missus to smack my bottom, firmly, on your behalf )

  11. #11
    Member BillyZ's Avatar
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    I've always wanted to go there. Now I think I'll make the effort and check it out, hit or miss.
    Cheers!

  12. #12
    Soc
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    Best way to get there?

  13. #13
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    ^ Depends where you're coming from and how.

    It's by Prahaitit Rd/Kao San - alongside Pinklao bridge. So, in Bkk, jump in a taxi, or boat (Klong Saan Sep) to Rademnueng, then tuktuk (50 baht). Or, bts to SapanTaksin then a river boat (yellow or orange flag) to either Tha Pra Chang (by Thammasart) then walk thru Thammasart... or Prahaitit Rd then walk back towards Pinklao bridge; either way is 5 mins walk.

    If anyone goes, please feedback your experience.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat madjbs's Avatar
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    I hope you are not teaching them the names of the places you are traveling through...

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    ^ when you find the one and only correct 'spelling' then please let the world know... If you'd like, I could put the Ministry of Culture's versions of English (based on Sanskrit phonetics...), but no Thais use these spellings and no foreigners understand them either...

    Anyway Mad, have you been tp this gallery? Any thoughts?

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat madjbs's Avatar
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    Im not being picky Betty but your spelling don't sound like the place names whatsoever and nobody will know where you are talking about

    Anyway, thanks for the report. I have not been to the gallery but I do pass it everyday. I went to an exhibition at the place opposite it though which was exhibiting art created by long term prisoners in Bangkwang. I also recently went to the Sillapakorn gallery just down from Tha Prajan. There were some very good as well as interesting pieces in both.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by madjbs
    your spelling don't sound like the place names whatsoever and nobody will know where you are talking about
    That's fair enough; I'll try harder with my semi-phonetic effort.

    The National Gallery is well worth an afternoon when you have a bit of time; surprised me really - I loved their modern art efforts. Thais have a great artistic edge when they cut free from their 'cultural' baggage...

  18. #18
    Not an expat Fabian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyZ View Post
    I've always wanted to go there. Now I think I'll make the effort and check it out, hit or miss.
    Cheers!
    I actually went there once to find out that they were about to close which was quite early. So I recommend to not go in the afternoon.

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