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Somjai Reiss is a renowned Thai watercolour artist who has been a vital impetus for change in Thailandís art scene over the past twenty nine years and has brought about many changes to this traditionally male dominated arena, challenging many stereotypes in the process.p15.jpg (27548 bytes) In her works she has focused mainly on depicting the various dimensions that make up Thai-life. Somjai is best known for her free-flowing impressionistic style that combines a unique mixture of soft colours and brazen intensity.

Somjai donates all the proceeds from her works to charities. All proceeds from her MY BEAUTIFUL THAILAND watercolour exhibition series have gone to the Sai Jai Thai Foundation under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

phide.jpg (32561 bytes)Somjai was born and educated in Thailand. She attended a catholic commercial college and began work shortly thereafter at a Swiss trading house. She later moved on to work at an American trading company specializing in minerals where she eventually became an executive. In the meantime Somjai met a German businessman whom she married. She put her promising business career on hold to raise her two sons. With more time on her hands Somjai pursued her long-time love for painting and art.

Somjai first entered the public eye when she made a line of greeting cards, which were reproductions of her paintings. The proceeds were donated to the Duang Prateep New Life Project to help the people living in the slums of Klong Toey. Somjai continued with numerous exhibitions before she held her first solo watercolour exhibition titled MY BEAUTIFUL THAILAND. It proved to be a tremendous success and prompted her to follow it up with many more solo watercolour exhibitions under the theme of MY BEAUTIFUL THAILAND. In addition to exhibitions, Somjai has also compiled a book entitled MY BELOVED THAILAND, The watercolour paintings of Somjai Reiss, which represents a compilation of 130 paintings. It has been extremely well received in Thailand as well as internationally and has been highly endorsed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). To support the TAT in promoting Amazing Thailand 2000 Somjai has contributed her paintings/artwork for the production of TATís year 2000 calendar for worldwide distribution. Her first book was followed in 2006 by a second compilation of 34 paintings, MY BELOVED THAILAND II, a special edition in celebration of the 60th anniversary of H.M. the Kingís accession to the Throne. Somjaiís passion for painting still persists. She has used her work as a means to effect change in the community. Profits from her various art exhibitions have been donated to the Sai jai Thai Foundation, a charitable organization under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and the Chaipattana Foundation under the patronage of H.M. the King. Other proceeds from her work have been used to fund the Foundation for Slum Child Care under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Galyani Vadhana. Somjai continues to paint and teach in her studio that overlooks the Chao Phraya River. She will no less continue to stun audiences with her breath-taking impressions of the country she loves. In 2001 the Grand opening of the Somjai Reiss Gallery took place to further promote and exhibit her work to the public.

Chronology of Exhibitions:

  • 1988 Group exhibition by the Soroptimist Club of Dusit, Thailand at the Montien Hotel, Bangkok. Proceeds were donated to the New Life project of Duang Prateep.
  • 1989 MY BEAUTIFUL THAILAND – SOLO art exhibition of 125 watercolour paintings at the River City Grand Hall, Bangkok. Proceeds were donated to the Sai Jai Thai Foundation under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
  • 1990 ALWAYS MY BEAUTIFUL THAILAND – SOLO art exhibition of 110 watercolour paintings at the River City Grand Hall, Bangkok. Proceeds were donated to the Sai Jai Thai Foundation under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
  • 1991 STILL MY BEAUTIFUL THAILAND – SOLO art exhibition of 87 watercolour paintings at the River City Grand Hall, Bangkok. Proceeds were donated to the Sai Jai Thai Foundation under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
  • 1992 International Women’s Art Exhibition at the Thailand Cultural Center in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 60th Birthday. Proceeds were used to fund the Emergency Home initiative, benefiting women and children with HIV, a project by the Association for the Promotion of the Status of women in Thailand.
  • 1993 An exhibition of works by 21 Thai Women Artists in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 60th Birthday. The event was held at the Siam City Hotel, Bangkok. Proceeds were donated to Her Majesty’s SUPPORT Foundation.
  • 1993 The Neo-Natural Expression at the Shangrila Hotel, Bangkok, sponsored by the Art of Swing. Proceeds were donated to the initiative to help support and bolster Thai art and artists.
  • 1994 SOLO exhibition of 82 watercolour paintings titled OUR BEAUTIFUL THAILAND at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, Bangkok. Proceeds were donated to the Sai Jai Thai Foundation under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided of the opening ceremony of this exhibition.
  • 1998 SOLO exhibition of 70 watercolour paintings titled MY BELOVED THAILAND at the Oriental Hotel, Bangkok. Proceeds were donated to Chaipattana Foundation under the patronage of His Majesty the King. Her book MY BELOVED THAILAND was launched at this event which was presided over by H.E. Mr. Chuan Leekpai, Prime Minister of Thailand.
  • 1999 SOLO exhibition of 75 watercolour paintings titled MY BELOVED THAILAND at the Siam City Hotel, Bangkok. Proceeds were donated to The Foundation for Slum Child Care under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Galyani Vadhana. H.R.H. Princess Galyani Vadhana presided over the opening of the exhibition.
  • 2000 The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) issued a calendar with Somjai’s paintings as part of the Amazing Thailand tourism campaign. The calendar was distributed to TAT offices world-wide, as well as to Royal Thai Embassies and Royal Thai Consulates.
  • 2001 Grand opening of the SOMJAI REISS GALLERY, Bangkok and SOLO watercolour exhibition HAPPINESS BENEATH THAI SKIES. The event was presided over by H.R.H. Princess Galyani Vadhana.
  • 2001 Water colour exhibition at the National Watercolour Museum, Mexico City, Mexico. Upon an invitation by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Somjai exhibited 47 paintings at the National Watercolour Museum. The exhibition was very successful and well-received among Mexico’s art community.
  • 2002 Chinatown in Watercolour at the Somjai Reiss Gallery – a SOLO exhibition by Somjai held at her gallery to celebrate Chinese New Year.
  • 2002 Khao Yai Wildlife at the Somjai Reiss Gallery – SOLO exhibition on forest and wildlife themes of Khao Yai National Park to promote the “when the buying stops, the killing can too” campaign to raise awareness of endangered wildlife in Thailand.
  • 2002 Two Cultures, Two artists, Two Styles at the Somjai Reiss Gallery. A joint exhibition between Somjai and Miriam Londono of Columbia.
  • 2003 Thailand in watercolour at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, Bangkok. By invitation  of the Organizing Committee of the APEC meeting, Somjai held a SOLO art exhibition at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel for the duration of the APEC meeting. Her work was very well received by the delegates.
  • 2004 ‘Angels and Archangels” by Mexican artist Carmen Parra and ‘Mexico in Watercolour’ by Somjai Reiss at the Somjai Reiss Gallery, Bangkok. The event was sponsored by the Mexican Embassy in Thailand and very well received by audiences of the Mexican and Thai community.
  • 2005 The Thai Festival, at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica, ROME, Italy. The festival was organized by the Italian Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Rome. Somjai was invited by the Thai Ministry of Culture to participate in this event. As reported by the organizer the Thai Festival drew over 250.000 visitors.
  • 2006 SOLO exhibition of 100 watercolour paintings titled MY BELOVED AND BEAUTIFUL THAILAND, at the Siam Paragon, Bangkok to celebrate the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the Throne. Proceeds were donated to the Chaipattana Foundation under the Royal patronage of His Majesty the King. The opening ceremony was presided over by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. During this event H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn also graciously presided over the launch of Somjai’s book MY BELOVED THAILAND II containing 34 watercolour paintings, depicting various themes of Thai culture. The book was issued in celebration of the 60th anniversary of H.M. the King’s accession to the Throne.
  • 2007  watercolour exhibition titled THE ROYAL ORCHID PARADISE at Siam Paragon, Bangkok in celebration of His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday anniversary. An exposition of living orchids and watercolour paintings on more than 2.500 square meters to promote Thai Orchid farmers and the conservation of Thai orchids. The paintings featured impressionist images of 9 unique orchid clusters. The event was presided over by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
  • 2008   Exhibition of 30 water colour paintings “Valentine’s Flowers” at Somjai Reiss               Gallery to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
  • 2010   Exhibition of 30 water colour paintings “China Town” at  Somjai Reiss Gallery to celebrate Chinese New Year Day.
  • 2011   exhibition at the Swiss Ambassador's residence to celebrate 80 years Thai/Swiss relationship.
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