Since 1998, the Thavibu Gallery in Bangkok has been showing the best in contemporary art from Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma (hence the name, ThaViBu). It was established by Jørn Middelborg, who was sent to Thailand by UNESCO six years prior and fell in love with the country.
He now serves as the Gallery’s Managing Director.
Thavibu Gallery’s objective is to promote quality art in Southeast Asia. The emphasis is on young and upcoming artists whose works express the imaginative aspects of their culture, and reflect concerns that range broadly from the spiritual and aesthetic to the social and political.
So how does an art gallery become involved in the BuyOneGIVEOne (B1G1) program? “It started when I listened to a presentation by Masami Sato of B1G1 some years ago,” Jørn told us, “and I thought it would be a good idea if Thavibu Gallery participated. B1G1 makes it simple and easy to give in a consistent manner every month.”
With a little help from his gallery team — Heide Park Charoenporn, Nattanan Manhnoo, and Songgot Kondee — they selected an appropriate place to send their regular contributions. “We support the St. Nicholas’ Home for the Blind in Malaysia,” says Jørn, “It’s an NGO and our support goes to accommodation and shelter for the blind. The donation from just one painting sold provides accommodation and shelter for one person for one month.”
Buyers comment on how satisfied they are to be able to support the blind by buying a piece of visual art.
“We have buyers approach us from all over the world,” Jørn points out.
“And we always point out that it is very difficult to predict whether the value of paintings will increase over time. However, we firmly believe that a quality painting will have lasting value and the contemporary art we feature certainly has the potential to increase in value over time.”
“But let me tell you,” he says with a smile, “What we do know for sure is that every piece we sell automatically generates a donation to a charity in the B1G1 network, and that’s an investment that does have a guaranteed return. Just ask the folks at the St. Nicholas Home for the Blind in Malaysia.”