Bukruk Urban Arts Festival was a 10-day exhibition, which ran from 23rd January to 31st January 2016, here in Bangkok. It featured public wall paintings, art exhibitions, artist talks, an animation night, and a music festival.
The festival this year was the second of its kind, and it focused on established and new artists from Asia and Europe.
What piqued my interest the most was the wall art that was to be created around the streets of Bangrak. So, on my day off, I went off to discover these exhibits for myself.
With google maps duly printed off, details of all 13 artists, and my camera ready to shoot, I set off for the day. I came across the first exhibit on Decho Road; a huge red, black, and white mural, which the artist seemed to have just finished because the scaffolding was still up. I took a few pictures and continued in my search for the next exhibit on my list.
I went to the second and third locations, in Yannawa, and could I find them? I searched everywhere. The maps showed the locations clear enough but they were nowhere to be found. A little disappointed, I continued onwards along Charoen Krung Road.
I managed to find a few more exhibits, a couple with the artists still at work.
But I didn’t find all 13. In fact, I found 5 out of the 13 I had planned to see. I felt defeated to say the least.
Defeated, because I thought that my exploration skills were up to scratch, what with the amount of walking I do around the city. But as someone who likes to see the positive in everything, there was a silver lining to my cloud. I love to explore Bangkok and my search for these exhibits had taken me down some little lanes and alleys that were all new to me, so from that point of view I still enjoyed my day out.
Upon my return home, I saw that the Bukruk organisers had posted an updated map on their Facebook page, so I realised that I had been looking in the wrong locations all along.
The following week, with the updated map in hand, and my camera at the ready again, I went out in search of the wall art that I had missed.
This time I took a boat to Rachawong pier, and found Songwat Road, where I knew some of the wall art was located.
Songwat Road is full of old buildings and industrial shops, selling car parts and such like. It’s a hive of activity, and popular with tourists, a few cycling through the streets. It’s a pleasant walk from Rachawong pier down to River City shopping mall. There are so many alleyways to explore, and loads of interesting things to see; a 200 year old house, Kalawar Church, and Chinese temples.
I found more exhibits, my favourite one was two huge elephants touching rear to rear, who appeared to be tumbling through the air.
In fact, I was impressed by all the paintings I found and, even though I still failed to find all of them, I was glad I had gone out again in search of them. By the second week the artists had all finished their creations so there was no scaffolding in front of them, and what was left was their work decorating the walls of Bangrak.
And there it will remain, hopefully for months to come, not only decorating Bangrak’s walls, but also providing a link between the art, the historical buildings, and the art galleries in the area; a goal that the organisers wish to achieve. I, for one, took great pleasure in wandering around this area and seeing some of the fantastic work that has been created by these very talented artists.