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A well of inspiration Chaiya Art Awards

Last Thursday my artist friend Pauline and I visited the Chaiya Art Awards. The exhibition is held biennially and combines the exploration of art and spirituality. The theme for 2023 is “Awe and wonder”. The work of more than 100 artists is showcased in 14 themed rooms, taking place at gallery@oxo and the Bargehouse gallery on London’s Southbank. You have until tomorrow (Sunday) at 4pm to see the exhibition in person, and it is well-worth the trip.

Many of the pieces invite participation and interaction. I enjoyed discussing work with other artists and with gallery visitors who had often stumbled across the exhibition by chance.

I particularly loved the exhibition space in the Bargehouse. I had passed the warehouse many times on trips to London but had never had a chance to look inside. The former factory site has been left as a vast four story raw, industrial space.

Some sections looked like abstract pieces of art in their own right and contributed to the theme of awe and wonder. To me, the building illustrated the concept of wabi sabi, the unexpected beauty in things that are imperfect and impermanent. It felt like we were time-travelling while at the same time looking at works which explored concepts outside of time.

The combination of the exhibition space, the artworks and the reflections from different surfaces created multi-layered temporary artworks. As a photographer, I am always interested in unusual points of view and the details which are often overlooked, so I took a lot of photos. I am including some of the photos here to give you a feel for the space.

The exhibitors have produced a beautiful limited edition hardback which includes pictures of all the works on display, which range from paintings, many of them larger than life, to sculpture, photography, textiles, ceramics and multi-media installations. The book serves as a reminder of how different perspectives enhance and enrich the exploration of a topic. The book also includes poetry and prose about the theme of awe and wonder, which adds another dimension.

A percentage of the sales of books and artworks supports the charity "Unseen", which aims to end modern slavery and human trafficking.


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