Montien Boonma

b. 1953, Bangkok, Thailand
d. 2000, Thailand

Montien Boonma studied art in Bangkok, Rome and Paris and began exhibiting internationally in the late 1980s. Initially trained as a painter, he is best known for his sculptures and installations, which combine traditional and organic substances (such as herbs and spices, wax, gold leaf and lotus petals) with cement, steel and other industrial materials. Montien Boonma consistently searched for alternatives to conventional expressions in Thai art and looked critically at 20th-century art movements, including fluxus and arte povera.

Boonma’s deepening belief in Buddhism drew him to the ancient concepts and symbolism of that faith, through which he found his creative voice. Herbs and healing practices played a central role in much of Boonma’s work from the 1990s when he lost close family members, including his beloved wife, to cancer, the disease to which he also succumbed. Many of his works are metaphors for hope, faith and healing, symbolising religious devotion and the possibilities of connection with the spiritual realm.

As one of Asia’s most gifted contemporary artists, Montien Boonma’s death in 2000, at the age of 47, was not only a great loss for Thailand but also for the international art community. His work explores the tensions and transformations between the rural and the urban, the traditional and the modern, and developed and developing countries.

Biography information from, June 2022

Country: Thailand
Additional Information: CV