Dear Himalaya, From Chiang Mai was an on-the-move Artist/Musician in Residency program between Thailand and the Himalaya, aimed at creating new dialogues and cross-cultural art experiences.
In May 2010, as part of Big Foot project, my collaborator – Wuthichai Jaisamak and I set out on a dream catching journey in the Himalaya along the classic Annapurna Circuit trek. We faced unique experiences – walking through the earth’s deepest river valley, crossing the highest navigable pass in the world, meeting welcoming locals, and sharing paths with international trekkers.
We hadn’t caught the dream, the dream had caught us, and inspired by the connection to the region we initiated “Dear Himalaya, From Chiang Mai” in 2017.
Together, we organized a fundraising concert at Warm Up Cafe with support from local musicians. We donated some art, food and drinks. This initial event created the seed funds that we gathered to continue the project in later years.
We dreamt of taking other Thai artists to the Himalaya, and also inviting talented artists from the Himalaya region to our hometown, Chiang Mai. The on-the-move artist residency programs was founded.
Warm Up Cafe, Chiang Mai
We invited local musicians to perform a mini concert with video screening of our original Himalaya footage on the background. We donated some art to sell and served Nepalese food cooked by our Nepalese friends.
This was our initial fundraising event that created the seed for the following projects in the later years.
Artists: Pisitihpong Siraphisut, Wuthichai Jaisamak, Jui Jui and friends.
Venue: Warm Up Cafe, Chiang Mai
Below are some of my photographs donated for sale at the event.
ComPeung, Chiang Mai
With the funds we collected from the previous fundraising art event and some local sponsors, we were able to offer a fully funded residency to our first Nepalese artist, Manmohan Thapaliya to come to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Manmohan is classical Nepali musician who masters beautiful Tabla and has incredible energy in his voice. He stayed with us for two weeks during his artist residency.
To continue the project and complete the exchange, we organized a second fundraising outdoor concert at ComPeung, Chiang Mai, where Manmohan performed with a host of Thai and international musicians and artists.
Artists: Manmohan Thapaliya (Nepal), Kana Maeda (Japan), DJ Sam C (Canada), Monkol Seangshalee (Thailand) Dirk Johan Stormberg (USA), Paul Pinto (USA), Catherine Thomson (Canada), Aceltic Band (Thailand), Tuk Brasserie (Thailand), Jui Jui (Thailand), Tommy Tee & JK (Thailand)
Venue: ComPeung, Chiang Mai
Kathmandu and Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
With the funds raised from this latest concert and our local sponsors, we continued the project and returned to the Himalaya in Nepal with Thai musician, filmmaker, painters, and artists to cross the highest navigable pass in the world on Annapurna Circuit trek, the same inspiring route we went through in 2009.
During this portion of the “on-the-move” residency we created a mural on the external wall of a writer’s club with images from people of the Himalaya. We screened some of our video works filmed in the Himalaya. We performed Thai music and improvised with our invited Nepalese singer and his friend. Finally we cooked Thai meals and shared them with our local guests and friends.
Artists: Pisithpong Siraphisut, Wuthichai Jaisamak, Somkiet Autahon, Sutthipong Sutinram, Wattanapon Kitburin, Usa Manitanon (Thailand)
Manmohan Thapaliya (Nepal), Subhan Khan (Nepal)
Venue: Ghost Writing Nepal, Kunja Natak Ghar, Kathmandu and Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Auditorium, Chiang Mai University Art Center, Thailand
In 2019 we were able to continue the project and invited two young award winning classical musicians from India to Thailand. They gave a presentation and a music exchange session with our local school teachers and students. Then they improvised with our local Lanna musicians to provide a unique musical experience for the audiences, including the Consul of India, Chiangmai – Mr. Shiri Jain in our final concert.
The classical music that once was performed secretly in the royal courts, both in India and Lanna Kingdom, were blended together in Chiang Mai for this event.
With kind support from CMRU Center of Excellence for Northern Thailand Music and Dance Study, we reintroduced the forgotten Lanna tunes of before the unification with Bangkok in late 1930’s and the contemporary development, experiment with combining both classic Lanna and Indian instruments, and experienced fine solo and duo performances from our guest Indian artists.
Musicians: Megha Rawoot (Sitar, India), Srikant Rao (Tabla, India), CMRU Center of Excellence for Northern Thailand Music and Dance Study (Lanna instruments, Thailand)
Venue: Auditorium, Chiang Mai University Art Center, Thailand
Supported by our sponsors
Year: 2017 – 2019
Venue: Warm Up Cafe, Chiang Mai (2017), ComPeung, Chiang Mai (2018), Annapurna Circuit and Ghost Writing, Kathmandu (2018), Chiang Mai University Art Center (2019)