Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum: 5 Unforgettable Artistic Experiences

Step into the world of Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, and prepare to be mesmerized by its distinctive and stylish shimmering facade. This captivating gem stands as a beacon of creativity, nestled within northern Thailand’s thriving art scene. Since its opening in July 2016, Maiiam has transformed a vast converted warehouse in Chiang Mai’s Sankampaeng district into an awe-inspiring destination.

Maiiam was founded by a family of art collectors who wanted to share their passion and vision with the public. The name, Maiiam, comes from the combination of two words: “mai,” meaning “new” in Thai, and “iam,” meaning “sparkle” in the Northern Thai dialect. That said, the museum aims to be a new and sparkling destination for art lovers in Thailand and beyond!

Beyond its sleek exterior lies an artistic sanctuary, a short distance away from the renowned Bo Sang Umbrella Making Centre. Visiting both of these captivating destinations in one day reveals Chiang Mai’s harmonious coexistence of traditional and contemporary artistic styles. Read on as we unravel the fascinating story of this amazing art museum and guide you through this haven of creative brilliance.

The Birth Of A Vision: History & Concept Of Maiiam

The Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum (Google Maps) is a testament to the enduring passion for art and culture held by the Bunnag-Beurdeley family. It all began with Jean Michel Beurdeley, a French diplomat, and his wife, Patsri Bunnag, a descendant of a royal Thai family, who settled in Thailand in 1968.

Embracing their shared love for art, they embarked on a mission to collect Thai and regional artworks, with a particular focus on contemporary art—a genre not widely appreciated at the time. Their son, Eric Bunnag Booth, raised in this environment of artistic inspiration, inherited their vision and unwavering enthusiasm.

In 2016, the family decided to open their private collection to the public, thereby nurturing a platform for contemporary art in Thailand and supporting emerging artists. Chiang Mai, renowned for its vibrant creative energy and rich cultural heritage, became the perfect location for their endeavor.

They aimed to foster a dialogue between the art scenes of Bangkok and Northern Thailand, each with its own unique influences and expressions.

From Warehouse To Artistic Haven: A Symphony Of Design

The museum finds its home within a converted warehouse that once served as a storage space for ceramics. Collaborating with the esteemed architecture firm, All(zone), the family sought to transform the industrial structure into a modern and elegant museum while honoring its original character.

The result is a simple yet breathtaking design featuring a spacious rectangular box illuminated by two light wells that flood the exhibition space with natural light.

But it is the facade that truly captivates the imagination. Thousands of small mirrors, carefully arranged, adorn the museum’s outer walls, reflecting light and the surrounding environment. This dynamic installation creates a playful and enchanting effect, reminiscent of the traditional Thai temple decoration technique known as “Lai Nam Thong” or “Gold on Water.”

Finally, by employing advanced installation methods, the architects masterfully merge contemporary patterns with the warehouse’s aged structure, harmonizing tradition, and modernity.

A Tapestry Of Contemporary Expression: Celebrating Thai Art

Spanning over 3,000 square meters, the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum showcases a remarkable collection of more than 250 artworks by Thai and regional artists from various generations and backgrounds. The collection encompasses an array of mediums, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, installations, and mixed media works.

It vividly reflects the diversity and richness of contemporary art in Thailand and Southeast Asia. While serving as a haven for art enthusiasts, Maiiam is far more than a passive viewing space. It invites visitors to immerse themselves in an interactive experience, challenging their perceptions and emotions through thought-provoking artworks.

The museum fosters dialogue, not only between artists and audiences but also among different cultures and perspectives. By doing so, Maiiam actively contributes to developing and appreciating contemporary art within Thailand and beyond its borders.

Overall, this remarkable institution stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication of the Bunnag-Beurdeley family and their enduring legacy in shaping the contemporary art scene in Thailand.

Experience Diverse Styles And Renowned Artists

Within the walls of the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, a tapestry of artistic marvels awaits. Including a wide range of styles, mediums, and themes, the museum’s collection spans the late 20th century to the present day. That said, let’s jump into some of the exciting and noteworthy works of Thai and regional artists that are showcased in Maiiam.

Masters Of Contemporary Art: Icons Of Thai Expression

Step into the world of Maiiam, and you’ll encounter the extraordinary works of renowned artists who have shaped the landscape of contemporary Thai art. The collection proudly showcases the creations of extremely talented artists, including:

Montien Boonma

Known for his captivating installations, Boonma explores spirituality, mortality, and the interconnectedness of life and death. His thought-provoking works often incorporate materials such as fabric, flowers, and religious symbols, inviting viewers to contemplate profound existential questions.

Chatchai Puipia

Chatchai is celebrated for his bold and striking paintings that challenge societal norms and explore the complexities of human relationships. His vibrant, figurative compositions delve into themes of desire, sexuality, and identity, provoking introspection and engaging viewers in a dialogue about personal and social constructs.

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook

Araya is a renowned video and installation artist whose works traverse the realms of life, death, and the human condition. Her poignant and emotionally charged pieces often feature conversations with elderly individuals, juxtaposing the transience of life with the timeless essence of art.

Kamin Lertchaiprasert

Kamin sculptures and installations offer profound contemplations on Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and the nature of existence. His minimalist approach, combined with organic materials and spiritual undertones, invites viewers to delve into the realms of inner reflection and serenity.

Navin Rawanchaikul

Navin is known for his dynamic multimedia works that explore themes of cultural identity and globalization. His portraits of Thai celebrities and ordinary individuals capture the vibrant essence of Thai society while addressing questions of fame, representation, and the influence of media.

Rirkrit Tiravanija

Tiravanija is internationally acclaimed for his participatory installations and socially engaged art. Often involving food, community interaction, and shared experiences, his works challenge the boundaries between art, everyday life, and collective engagement, inviting viewers to question established norms and foster connections.

Each artist brings a unique perspective, exploring themes of cultural identity, societal norms, and personal narratives. Their artworks stand as a testament to the enduring impact of contemporary Thai art.

Emerging Talents And Innovative Expressions

Maiiam goes beyond established masters, embracing the dynamic visions of emerging artists who redefine the boundaries of artistic expression. Discover the evocative installations of Mit Jai Inn, the multimedia works of Korakrit Arunanondchai, the thought-provoking sculptures of Kawita Vatanajyankur, and the visionary films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

These rising stars challenge conventions, tackle global issues and offer fresh perspectives on personal experiences. And with their influence, you can prepare to be captivated by their groundbreaking contributions to the contemporary art scene.

Art As A Reflection: Significance Within Modern Thai Art

The artworks within the Maiiam collection serve as powerful reflections of the contemporary art landscape in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Through their diverse themes and thought-provoking narratives, they capture the essence of modern Thai art.

These creations delve into the complexities of cultural heritage, challenge societal norms, and address pressing global concerns. With every stroke, sculpture, and installation, the artists contribute to a rich tapestry of artistic expression that shapes the dialogue surrounding contemporary Thai art.

An Immersive Journey: Discover, Experience, And Engage

The Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum is not merely a space for passive observation but an immersive environment that inspires visitors to engage with the artworks actively. Take part in guided tours, peruse catalogs, read labels, and utilize audio guides to gain deeper insights into the artworks, their contexts, and the artists’ intentions.

Overall, Maiiam creates an atmosphere of shared exploration and appreciation by fostering a dialogue between artists and audiences.

Maiiam Comtemporary Art Museum Services And Offerings

The art Mureim is well-known for being visually appetizing, but your visit goes beyond experiencing art. The museum offers a series of facilities and amenities designed to enhance your comfort and enjoyment. With that in mind, here are four features to keep in mind:

Dining: When hunger strikes, head to the museum’s cozy cafe. Delight in various snacks, drinks, and desserts while enjoying the serene view of the garden and the mesmerizing mirror facade. If you crave authentic Thai cuisine, nearby restaurants and street food stalls offer a delectable array of local delicacies!

Shopping: Commemorate your visit by exploring the museum’s shop. Discover a curated selection of books, catalogs, postcards, posters, and unique items related to the museum’s art collection. Support local artists and designers by browsing through their original creations, including jewelry, accessories, clothing, ceramics, and more.

Accessibility: The museum is committed to inclusivity and accessibility. Ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms ensure a seamless experience for visitors with disabilities or special needs. They run from 10 am to 6 pm every day except for Tuesdays. Entrance fees are 150 baht for Adults, 100 baht for seniors & students, and Children under 12 can enter for free.

You can also scan QR codes at the entrance to enrich your understanding. Guided tours are also available onsite for those looking for deeper insights into the art collection and the museum’s history and concept.

Transportation: Conveniently located in the cultural district of Sankampang (Google Maps) and is easily accessible from Chiang Mai’s city center. Choose from various transportation options, such as taxis, tuk-tuks, songthaews (red trucks), or rented vehicles.

Ample parking is available for both cars and buses. A shuttle service runs between the museum and the city center on weekends and public holidays. Check the schedule and book your seat through the museum’s website or by phone.

Indulge in the full Maiiam experience, where art intertwines with culinary delights, thoughtful mementos await, accessibility is prioritized, and transportation is hassle-free. Immerse yourself in art while enjoying the museum’s exceptional facilities and amenities.

Début The Vibrant World: Maiiams Events And Exhibitions

Immerse yourself in a world of vibrant artistry and creative energy at the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum. This dynamic institution not only showcases remarkable artworks but also hosts a diverse array of events and exhibitions that will captivate your imagination. Some of the presentations that recently happened include:

The 5th Bangkok Art Biennale 2022: The museum proudly serves as one of the venues for the highly anticipated 5th edition of the Bangkok Art Biennale. This international art event was held from February to June 2022 and featured the works of more than 80 artists from 34 countries.

Under the theme of “Escape Routes,” the biennale invites visitors to explore alternative perspectives and possibilities amidst global challenges and crises. Follow their website to join in on their next event.

The 2nd Chiang Mai Biennale 2023: Celebrating the art and culture of Southeast Asia, the 2nd Chiang Mai Biennale took center stage at the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum from January to March 2023. Reflecting the theme of “The River of Life,” this regional art event paid homage to the Mekong River, a powerful symbol of connectivity and diversity across six countries.

The Gems Of Permanent And Temporary Collections

Delve into the museum’s permanent and temporary collections, which showcase a treasure trove of artistic brilliance.

The Permanent Collection: The museum proudly displays over 250 artworks from Thai and regional artists. Discover the masterpieces of iconic figures mentioned before, and the collection also embraces the groundbreaking creations of emerging talents.

The Temporary Exhibitions: Witness the ever-evolving artistic landscape through the museum’s captivating temporary exhibitions. These curated shows feature local and international artists, exploring diverse themes and concepts within contemporary art and culture.

Previous exhibitions have tackled topics such as migration, displacement, identity, and the museum’s new acquisitions, showcasing the vibrant tapestry of artistic expression. Stay up-to-date with the museum website or their Facebook page to keep track of any recent events happening soon.

Engage, Explore, and Celebrate Art

Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum invites you to engage with art through an array of workshops, talks, screenings, and performances. These events foster meaningful connections, encourage dialogue, and deepen your understanding of contemporary art and its cultural significance. Immerse yourself in the ever-evolving world of art and embark on a transformative journey of discovery.

Experience the power of art at the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, where exhibitions and events come together to ignite your passion for creativity and immerse you in the rich tapestry of contemporary artistic expression.

Enrich Adventure: Nearby Marvels And Tastey Eateries

Chiang Mai, a city brimming with art and culture, offers an array of attractions that will further enhance your experience alongside the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum. The attractions worth noting to further your artistic adventure include:

The Dara Pirom Palace (Google Map): Step back in time as you visit the magnificent Dara Pirom Palace. Built-in 1914 by Princess Dara Rasmi, a consort of King Rama V, this museum showcases the princess’s personal belongings and exhibits artworks and artifacts from the vibrant Lanna culture.

The palace is a tranquil haven just a 10-minute drive from the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum and is surrounded by lush gardens, a pond, and a fountain.

The Umbrella Making Centre (Google Map): Experience the artistry and traditions of umbrella-making at this captivating center. Witness skilled artisans crafting umbrellas from bamboo and sa paper made from mulberry bark. Marvel at their craftsmanship, try creating your masterpiece and take home a colorful and unique umbrella as a memento.

Located a short 15-minute drive from the Maiiam Museum, this center is a must-visit for cultural enthusiasts.

The Baan Kang Wat Artist Village (Google Map): Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Baan Kang Wat Artist Village. This charming community houses talented artists and artisans who showcase and sell their creations in individual studios and shops.

Discover a wide range of artistic expressions, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and jewelry. After exploring the artistic wonders, unwind at the village’s cozy cafes and savor the flavors of Chiang Mai. Located just a 20-minute drive from the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, the village offers an enchanting blend of creativity and relaxation.

Savor Culinary Delights

Chiang Mai’s culinary scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors and creativity. While we encourage you to explore further, here are a few favorites:

Mysterious Grilled Pork In Soi Noi (หมูกระทะลึกลับ ในซอยน้อย) (Google Map): This popular eatery tantalizes taste buds with its secret sauce-infused grilled pork. Enjoy the tender and juicy meat alongside sticky rice and fresh vegetables. Find this hidden gem tucked away in a small alley near the Night Bazaar.

The Sitting Cafe Coffee Shop (นั่งเล่นคาเฟ่) (Google Map): Delight in the aromatic blends of coffee, tea, smoothies, and delectable pastries at this charming café. Settle into its cozy ambiance, adorned with colorful decorations and comfortable seating. It is also located near the Bo Sang Handicraft Village, where you will find a colorful presentation of paper umbrellas, among other crafts.

Zhao Long (จูล่ง หมูกระทะ) (Google Map): Indulge in the Chinese delicacy of hot pot at this lively restaurant. Choose from an array of meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles, and sauces to create your own flavorful hot pot experience. With its spacious setting, attentive staff, and reasonable prices, Zhao Long promises a memorable dining adventure.

Bua Restaurant (Google Map): Immerse your taste buds in the authentic flavors of Northern Thai cuisine at Bua Restaurant. Sample regional favorites like kaeng hang le (pork curry), and kanom jeen nam ngiao (rice noodles with spicy tomato sauce). The restaurant’s rustic style, wooden furniture, and lantern-lit ambiance provide the perfect backdrop for savoring your meal.

Our Summary

Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum is among Chiang Mai’s brightest jewels showcasing the best modern Thai art in a stunning and spacious setting. It’s a place where you can discover and appreciate the beauty and significance of contemporary art in Thailand and Southeast Asia. It is also a place where you can experience art in a fun and interactive way.

And adding a trip to this charming Art Museum will always offer an artistic adventure that will inspire your senses and spark your mind’s eye!


Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum stands out in Thailand’s art scene for its emphasis on contemporary and modern art, primarily showcasing the works of both established and emerging Thai artists. Its architecture, a blend of traditional and modern elements, is a reflection of the ever-evolving Thai art and culture.

To experience the museum in a more tranquil setting, it’s best to visit on weekday mornings. Weekends and holidays usually see a higher influx of visitors.

The museum regularly rotates its exhibitions, featuring both Thai and international artists. It’s a good idea to check the museum’s official website or contact them ahead of time to know about current and upcoming special installations.

A thorough exploration of the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on your interest and pace.

Yes, the museum offers guided tours. These tours often provide deeper insights into the exhibited artworks and the artists behind them. It’s recommended to check their schedule or book in advance.

Photography is generally allowed, but without the use of flash to preserve the integrity of the artworks. However, there may be specific exhibits where photography is restricted.

The museum is family-friendly and occasionally organizes art workshops and interactive sessions suitable for children. There are also open spaces for kids to roam around.

Yes, there’s a café within the museum premises offering a selection of refreshments and light meals, making it a perfect spot to relax and discuss the art you’ve just experienced.

The museum is located about a 30-minute drive from the city center. You can take a taxi, a local songthaew (shared taxi), or rent a scooter or car. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, taxis or rideshare services are the most convenient options.

After visiting the museum, you might want to explore the nearby villages known for their traditional crafts, such as the Bor Sang Umbrella Village. It offers a great contrast to the contemporary art you’ve just witnessed and a deeper dive into Northern Thailand’s culture.


Cat Motors Team

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