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Elegant ‘Sala’ Opens Door to Thailand at EWC Exhibition

Release Date: 2/14/2007

HONOLULU (Feb. 14) —- A public reception on Sunday, March 11, will celebrate the opening of the East-West Center (EWC) Gallery’s latest exhibition Sala : Gem of Thai Architecture” that will run from March 8 through May 23, and the new Thai pavilion donated by Thailand’s king, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej. The ornately decorated and colorful teak wood sala replaces an earlier one gifted to the EWC by the Thai Royal Family in 1967, at the time the only Royal pavilion erected outside Thailand. The program gets underway at 1:30 p.m. at the sala and will be followed by a 2 p.m. reception in the Gallery.

EWC Gallery curator Dr. Michael Schuster says of the new exhibition, “Architecture can tell us much about people’s way of life and worldview.” He points out, “This interactive, multi-media exhibition introduces visitors to the sala , showing what these structures mean and how they are used by Thai people today … their significance, role, forms, elements, process of construction, the associated rituals and beliefs.” Schuster adds, “visitors young and old will find this gallery experience approachable and interesting.”

The exhibition will include wooden spirit houses, models of traditional Thai structures, woodcarvings, installations, architectural plans, a video of the rebuilding process at EWC, and photography by National Geographic photographer Paul Chesley and Bangkok-based artist Martin Collins. Guest Co-curator is Bangkok-based Virginia Henderson, who has conducted research in Thai arts and architecture for nearly two decades.

The sala celebration, including a Thai classical dance performance, will be 1:30-2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 11 and will take place at the sala site, just mauka of the EWC’s Imin Center (Jefferson Hall, 1777 East-West Road). The reception and exhibition will be from 2:00-3:30 p.m. at the nearby EWC Gallery, located at John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road. Admission to both events is free; parking is available at the East-West Center or the adjacent UH-Manoa campus.

The East-West Center Arts Program is supported in part by the Hawaii Pacific Rim Society, Friends of Hawaii Charities, the Jackie Chan Foundation USA, and the generous contributors to the EWC Foundation, including members of the EWC Arts ‘Ohana.

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Editors: For more information please contact Michael Schuster at 808-944-7543. Digital photos of the Thai sala are available upon request.

The EAST-WEST CENTER is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.