6 June 2024

Much has been written in recent years about Bangkok’s creative districts but it isn’t only the Thai capital that’s getting a makeover. Next month will see the fifth edition of “Creative Nakhon” coming to life in Nakhon Si Thammarat, one of Thailand’s oldest cities and home to such revered historical attractions as Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, Wat Jedi (Ai Kai) and the ancient city wall.

In recent years, the city’s fathers have been working hard to revive the charm of the old town and attempting to establish it as a creative destination with various events and exhibitions. Now they are inviting locals and visitors alike to immerse themselves in the crafts for which the city is known during “Creative Nakhon 5”, which this year has “Craftaholic” as its theme,  The aim of the event, which will run from July 6 to 9 at the Bovorn Nakhon (formerly known as Bovorn Bazaar) in the town’s Tha Wang district, is to promote Nakhon Si Thammarat as a creative city for sustainable economic development.

The festival is being organized by Creative Nakhon Group in collaboration with the Tourism Business Association of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province and Bovorn Nakhon, with the support of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Office, the Creative Economy Agency (CEA) and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

In recognition of the province’s rich history, the 5th edition of the Creative Nakhon Festival will not be just about showcasing artworks but also about celebrating local pride, creativity, and indigenous wisdom reflected through artworks.

The festival presents 5 must-see local creative exhibitions. They are:

  • Local Creative Exhibition: Local artists showcase their craftwork inspired by local skills, techniques, and materials, reviving old craft wisdom and turning it into contemporary artworks.
  • The Craft Master: A remarkable exhibition of craftwork by national artisan brands including Yothaka, Touchable, Korakot, AmoArte, and Kitt.ta.khon presenting contemporary perspectives of creativity that meet the demand for craftsmanship in the global market.
  • Young Creative: A space for young emerging artists and creators from 5 institutions in Nakhon Si Thammarat province. namely the College of Fine Arts, Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University, the Chulabhorn Institute, and the College of Fine Arts Nakhon Si Thammarat, to showcase their contemporary creative works.
  • Jewellery Design by GIT: An exhibition featuring 13 jewellery collections from the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT) on the theme “Enchanting South,” presented by entrepreneurs from 4 southern provinces which highlight the exquisite craftsmanship skills long feted by the global market. 
  • Craft Network & Market: An exhibition showcasing the craft network in Nakhon Si Thammarat, displaying various types of local crafts spread across different districts, aiming to foster collaboration and build a strong craft ecosystem for the future.

In addition to the exhibition area, the festival also offers knowledge-sharing activities for art and craft enthusiasts. Craft workshops allow participants to learn and have fun with traditional craft techniques such as sedge weaving, Nora beads stringing, Mor Hom fabric, tie-dyeing, Batik fabric, and to take a deep dive into the authentic art of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Craft talks provide a platform for discussions to drive the art scene in the southern region, covering topics like the future of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s craftwork and conservation approaches for the old town area, featuring knowledgeable artisans, master craftsmen, and architects in the field of heritage conservation and development. The talks are designed to pave the way for this richly historical province to benefit from the sustainable creative economy.

Visitors can also support local craftsmanship and handmade products as more than 30 local vendors will be setting up booths at the event. Those not into shopping can enjoy spending time at the market zone where they can feast on local food and listen to live jazz performances, blues, and much more.

By Thai PBS Feature Desk