With its distinctive and stylish shimmering facade, Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum is an eye-catching addition to northern Thailand’s burgeoning art scene. Opened in July 2016, Maiiam is is housed in a large, converted warehouse in the Sankampaeng district to the east of Chiang Mai city centre. The sleek museum is just a short distance away from the famous Bo Sang Umbrella Making Centre and visiting them both in the same day provides a wonderful contrast between the traditional and contemporary artistic styles that flourish side by side in Chiang Mai.
Maiiam is a play on words which, when written in English, reads the same forwards as it does backwards. ‘Mai’ (as in Chiang Mai) means ‘new’. The addition of ‘iam’ comes from, Jao Jom Iam a lady who is related to the founders of the museum and was a royal consort to King Rama V. It was King Rama V who oversaw the modernisation of Thailand and the phrase ‘mai iam’ can also be translated as ‘brand new’ making the name a perfect fit for this new contemporary museum in Chiang Mai.
A family affair
Maiiam Museum of Contemporary Art is the brainchild of the Bunnag-Beurdeley family. Over the last three decades, Jean Michel Beurdeley and his late wife Patsri Bunnag, together with their son Eric Bunnag Booth, have amassed an impressive collection of art. They wanted to share their collection with the public and Maiiam is a suitably impressive venue. Artwork in the Bunnag-Beurdeley family collection includes work from the most prominent Thai artists including Montien Boonma, Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Chatchai Puipi. Up and coming Thai artists are also showcased at Maiiam.
The ground floor is home to a temporary exhibition hall together with an entrance hall dedicated to Jao Jom Iam and the history of the Bunnag family. The upper level is home to a permanent collection hall and two smaller exhibition rooms. In the middle of Maiiam museum there is a space which can convert into an indoor or outdoor arena to showcase live performances, new exhibitions and social events.
There are some thought-provoking works on display at Maiiam and the museum makes for an interesting place to visit. This is the type of museum you would expect to see in Bangkok or a prominent European city, so to have it in Chiang Mai is a wonderful thing for visitors to the city to enjoy.
10am – 6pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Entrance fee is the same for Thais and non-Thais:
150 Baht for adults
100 Baht for students
Free for children under 12 years old
Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, 122 Moo 7 Tonpao, Sankhampaeng, Chiang Mai
The museum is located on highway number 1006 lees than 2kms away from Bo Sang Umbrella Making Centre in the Sankampaeng district of Chiang Mai. The attached restaurant at Maiiam is also worth checking out with a good selection of food and drink.
Visitors without their own transport can take a white songthaew for 20 Baht from Waworot Market/Kad Luang in Chiang Mai to Sankampaeng. The route goes past Maiiam on highway number 1006.