May 16 2011
Navigating the shopping maze of Chatuchak Weekend Market can be an entirely overwhelming experience. Without any purpose or sense of direction your big shopping extravaganza can quickly devolve into doing anything possible to find your way out. While it may not seem it at first glance, the market is broken down into highly thematic sections which can be followed using one of the free maps distributed at Chatuchak or the Nancy Chandler Bangkok map, which I recommend and would be lost without. Just as the art scene in Bangkok is a little under the radar, so too is Chatuchak’s tucked away section of standout galleries.
Set in a small area all the way near Chatuchak Park, the art gallery section is concentrated directly to the right of entrance gate 2 in section 7. In this contained area sit roughly 10 alleys all devoted to local artists’ galleries featuring different mediums, styles and price ranges. The artists are generally on the scene as well, putting the final touches on a project or having lunch on stools outside. Happily, unlike much other street art in the city, there is a general absence of black-light paintings of neon-coloured leopards and a general surplus of interesting modern pieces.
While it would be impossible for me to tell you what art here is “good” or “bad” I can say that I do enjoy many of the stalls located on Sois 2 and 3, particularly favouring Ars Longa on soi 3 and work by local favourite Pariwat A-nantachina on Sois 2-3. Just this weekend I purchased a photo collage from Pariwat A-nantachina for 3,000 baht.
With paintings and sculptures everywhere the section makes for a very interesting walk-through even if you’re not in the market to buy. If you are looking to make a purchase there is a range of prices with smaller reproductions and prints often going for a few hundred baht and larger original works running in the thousands. If you have time it is also possible to commission custom pieces.
Compared to Western prices, the work here is very affordable. But more importantly, much of the work is very unique. And indeed, there is something special about buying a painting from a local artist who is chowing down on sticky rice outside their shop.
Chatuchak Weekend Market is officially open 09:00-18:00 Sat and Sun. The galleries can be reached off of Kamphangphet 3 through Gate 2.
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