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Private patronage in modern & contemporary southeast asian art ecologies & art histories, 20th–21st centuries


PosterSaturday, 24 February 2024
Auditorium on the 5th floor
Bangkok Art & Culture Centre, Bangkok


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Since the inception of art—as defined in modern Europe—in Southeast Asia in the late 19th century, the ecologies and histories of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art have been forged by a host of homologous actors and factors : artists, scholars, critics, curators, dealers, collectors, patrons, educators, art writers and museum professionals, together with vernacular aesthetico-ethical sensibilities, national cultural policies (or the absence of them) and so forth. Hitherto, art historical discourse has however remained centred around the producer, production and produce of art. This symposium shifts the focus to another node in the industry : private patronage. In paying critical attention to private patronage’s role in art ecologies and art historical narratives in various parts of Southeast Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries, it seeks to initiate comparative perspectives on the topic within the region.

In most parts of Southeast Asia where public patronage has been weak or precarious, if not quasi-absent, private patronage has been instrumental in mobilising financial and human resources to spur the production of art, the celebration of artists and the development of art worlds. In addition to building historical collections and rendering them accessible to the general public through donations to public institutions or the creation of private museums, enlightened private patrons have founded spaces and platforms lending to the recognition of lesser known artistic practices and communities, as well as promoted scholarship by way of funding research, translation and publication projects, and public programmes, among other initiatives, hence nourishing ecologies of art and charting the course of histories of art.

In Private Patronage in Modern & Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Ecologies & Art Histories, 20th–21st Centuries, to investigate and open up debate on the historical import of private patronage in modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art, we ask : who are some of these patrons ; what motivates them ; what have they done and how so ? How has their philanthropy impacted modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art and its prominence at the national, regional and international levels ? How have their priorities and activities evolved over time from the 20th to the 21st century, and what of their role in the future ? Lastly, how might a shift in focus to their roles in the history of Southeast Asian art revise the ways in which we write nascent critical histories of art in the region ?


With the support of Ambassade de France en Thaïlande.
Convenors :

  • Thanavi Chotpradit, Silpakorn University, Bangkok
  • Yin Ker, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou and amis du Centre Pompidou, Paris
  • Jérôme Samuel, Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine (IRASEC), Bangkok


6 February 2024