BANGKOK — Two dozen autistic students drew and painted a building steeped in Thailand’s diplomatic history before it was demolished last month, with the art now on sale for charity.
The demolished British ambassador’s residence, torn down after the land on Ploenchit Road was sold to Central Group to be turned into yet another mall complex, now lives on in drawings and paintings. One of the last activities conducted in its hallways was the commissioning of two dozen autistic students to capture its beauty.
British ambassador Brian Davidson is now displaying the 70 or so artworks in a charity sale until Sunday at Siam Paragon. Proceeds will go to the Thai Austistic Foundation which supports and trains autistic students.
“I don’t understand English but walking around with the ambassador was great and I feel special,” said Weerachad Kasadbua, who drew a colorful impressionist painting called “On Tour,” depicting Davidson leading a private tour with the students.
Another student, Watcharaphan Darchana, drew a realistic black and white rendering of the residence from the back, arguably the building’s most beautiful angle.
Many of the pieces have already been reserved, including a charming portrait of the Ambassador by Watcharaphan as well.
“I don’t understand English very well but I want to thank the ambassador for inviting us here,” said the artist in a caption accompanying the drawing, entitled “Remarks by The Ambassador.”
From 1926, the British ambassador’s residence was a center of diplomatic dinners and receptions. Politicians, scholars, journalists, business tycoons, and even dictators graced its halls, along with British royals. Even current PM of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson visited while secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The residence is being relocated to a penthouse in a new river-side condominium on Charoen Krung Road, while the embassy will eventually move to a building on Sathorn Road. A statue of Queen Victoria will stay and be cared for by Central Group.
Some were shocked at the decision to vacate the historical mansion, with some even viewing the move as a sign of weakening Thai-British relations. Ambassador Davidson has stated on several occasions however that he remains committed to making the British diplomatic presence felt in Thailand, even from its new outpost in Bangkok.
สถานทูตอังกฤษ ถูกทุบได้ไง เป็นโบราณสถานถึงแม้ยังไม่ได้ขึ้นทะเบียนแต่ถือเป็นโบราณสถานที่ยังไม่ได้ขึ้นทะเบียน…
The “Give & Gifted Art Exhibition” is co-organized by the British Embassy and Siam Piwat Co. Ltd. The exhibition, located on the first floor of Siam Paragon, is running until Sunday Aug. 25. For more details, contact the Thai Autistic Foundation at 02 418 3399, 094 546 1639 or 099 454 5395.