11 July 2024

For 50 days, from December 9 to January 29, the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park in Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northernmost province, is illuminated by works of art making up the Light of Life” outdoor installation. The park’s first-ever lighting event aims to reboot Chiang Rai as the destination for art enthusiasts after the quiet years of the coronavirus pandemic.

Six Thai artists and four studios including experienced stage and light designer Phol Huiprasert have been enlisted for the first edition of the light festival at the Park. The artists and light designers have made these works, especially for the event.

Unlike an average light installation with a rainbow of colours, the Light of Life installation performs on a white light only. Inspired by the work of Princess Srinagarindra (the Grandmother of King Rama 10) in Chiang Rai, the restorative white light – which actually contains all seven colours represents the princess’s efforts and guidance to improve and leverage the quality of life of local people in Chiang Rai and beyond.

I like to present the nature of light between 2700-5500 Kelvin temperature, or somewhere between incandescent and sunlight. This particular wavelength of light keeps us alive and moving forward, says Phol Huiprasert, the mastermind behind the Light of Life installation at the Park. “We, the light designers and craftspeople, worked very hard on the festival. As a result, I’d like people to see this light art installation and be inspired by the light and darkness.”

A light installation called Maze is displayed at the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park. (Photo by TAT)

Phol, a professional stage and light designer, is the genius behind concerts by rockers Bodyslam, Potato, and Slot Machine.

The Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, located five kilometres west of Chiang Rai, was founded in 1977 as a training camp for hilltribe youths appointed to lead their communities in royal development projects. Fifty years later, the park spans 60 acres with landscaped gardens and has become a centre for Lanna art and culture, complete with heritage buildings and religious art and artifacts.

While walking through the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, I discovered art and beautiful nature coexisting in harmony. I wanted to create an art installation that is both inspiring and appropriate for the park. Visitors will be blessed by the beauty of the park, but they will also be inspired by the light installation, Phol adds.

The Light of Life installation focuses on four different themes: Life, Thought, Journey, and Light. Overall, the light art exhibition tells the story of the circle of life, beginning with our birth, growing up, learning and overcoming obstacles.

At the Maze installation, for example, the artist created a bamboo sculpture with a labyrinth inspired by the story of Vessantara Jakata, in which the king gave up everything and encountered various obstacles in order to achieve the virtue of perfect generosity. Here, where the obstacle takes the form of art, visitors can approach and interact with the installation, and become inspired. A response to the sensual light installation could elicit a new experience and even imagination.

In addition to the exhibition, the Kad Mua market offers local food and crafts every Saturday and Sunday while a series of cultural shows and art performances will keep visitors entertained.

The artist works on the Myyarab light installation at the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park. (Photo by TAT)

LIGHT OF LIFE

The light art installation is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 4pm-10pm until January 29 at the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park. Tickets are Bt100 per person.