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IBTC 2020 SPEAKER - Professor Dr. Vithi Phanichphant

Achan Vithi graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1968. Master of Arts in the Environmental Design University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1970.

Achan Vithi is the founder of the Department of Thai Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University since 1983, he has an outstanding role in the revival of Lan Na art and culture, the preservation of Lan Na tradition and recreated a contemporary art style which has been well accepted by society.

He has a role and duty in organizing cultural activities for both public and private organizations also encouraged them to start the community's art and culture management to enhance the image of the locality. Moreover, the graduates from the Department of Thai Art also participating in these art and cultural phenomena. There are peoples who observed this spectacle and defined it as "Neo Lan Na trend" which is not the return of the tradition but an extension of the existing roots. Besides, Achan Vithi is an important person in driving these movements.

In addition to teaching, he also loves to go out to experience nature and learn the local arts and culture. He always carried his camera and taking a great shot, then bring those images to teach his student, passing his aspect of art again and again.

Even though the establishment of the Department of Thai Art is often asked whether it is truely Thai art or not, but with his different perspective, the Thai art that he supported still clearly consists of the spirit of his identity. The interesting part is how he combined the roots of Lan Na culture with the way of learning and experiencing by himself, also try to create something new from his own appreciation.

This phenomenon occurred when he was built his own student at the time the digital influence has not yet entered much. The time that Chiang Mai has not yet been this famous. The fabulous creation of art and culture by his students that spread out all over the region is one of the proofs of his hard-working. He is not just taking any shortcut but it took tens of years to practice, spent time learning from many people until he is able to explain what those things are made from. The most important thing about creating something new is to have a good foundation. And that is the way that Achan Vithi Phanichphant has dedicated all his life.