So, here we are, after deciding we wouldn’t do anything during our two week break in Bangkok we suddenly find ourselves battling the mid-day heat of Bangkok, as we head for the Neilson Hays Library Galleries.
On show, an exhibition by one of Thailand’s preeminent artists, Charlee Sodprasert.
Charlee has been painting for over 50 years and this latest show, in his favorite medium of watercolor, is on impressionistic rural scenes.
He sounds like an interesting guy, an accomplished watercolor artist, poet, disc-jockey, musician and art teacher, he also runs his own artist retreat guest-house.
And as he says on his web-site, “As you walk closer to The Artists’ Place you may pleasantly be surprised to hear recordings of Elvis,
or Thai folk music (Isaan), his aired Sunday radio talk show or his band jamming American 50s music.
He has traveled the world and he likes to entertain and relax with guests. Besides the guesthouse,art is his love, so he welcomes others to share their artistic impression in his studio.
His latest show is set in the Neilson Hays Gallery, which turned out to be a modernistic gallery/cafe attached to the original library and seems to be part of the British club of Bangkok.
The old British ways are still in evidence with the cafe service, the 30 minute wait for a mango smoothie was worth it though, lovely fresh mango whizzed up with slushie ice hit the spot and refreshed us up no end.
The library, set up by thirteen British and American women in 1869, with the aim of circulating and sharing books.
Initially staffed by volunteers and only open one day a week, by 1897 it was open every day (except Sunday) and a paid librarian was employed.
Around this time, one of the most active Board members was Jennie Neilson Hays.
Danish by birth, she had lived in America and then entered Siam as a protestant missionary in 1881.
Legend has it that hearing that two suitable young American doctors were on their way to Bangkok, Jennie and a friend were said to have selected their respective future husbands prior to the gentlemen disembarking.
Dr Thomas Heywood Hays became Chief of the Royal Thai Navy Hospital. Jennie was to serve as President of the Library three times and was a mainstay of the organization for twenty years.
in addition to the book lending library, they now also hold exhibitions by both Thai
and foreign artists all year round.
The library remains the oldest not-for-profit association in the Kingdom of Thailand.
Anyway, did I enjoy the show?, yes, although I think the display was lacking somewhere, it seemed as if it was crowded, claustrophobic almost, too much on the walls and too jammed in. Charlee’s work seems to be all about the beauty and serenity of the Thai countryside, I think it would have benefited from either a bigger space, or an edit.