CHIANGRAI TIMES – Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort is pleased to announce the feature of a unique photo exhibition during the Mekong Tourism Forum, tying the destination as the true Gateway to the Mekong with its values to represent a cultured discovery.
Steeped rich in history, the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) that includes Yunnan, China,
Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, is a very diverse region inhabited by more
than 200 ethnic minority groups. Each of the groups has their own lifestyle and culture that are
distinctively different from other and mainstream populations.
Their traditional tribal lifestyles,cultures and beliefs are the constant subject of interest for many visiting the region today.
Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort will showcase the photography of 2 inspiring photographers,
Kees Sprengers from the Netherlands and Blue Johnson from the USA. The photo exhibition
will be on display from 15 June – 31 July 2012. Kees and Blue have both developed a special
interest in the subject and have spent many years photographing people in Northern Laos and
The body of work covers many of the major ethnic groups such as Lanten,
Khmu, Akha, Karen, Lisu, Muser, Hmong, Yao etc.
About Kees Sprengers
Kees was born in The Netherlands in 1948. He started photographing at age 10 and is mostly
self-taught. He was the museum photographer at Waikato Art Museum, Hamilton, New Zealand,
from 1974 – 87. His many solo Exhibitions were in Hamilton, Auckland, Bangkok, Vientiane,
Luang Prabang, and group exhibitions in Hamilton and Thousand Oaks, California.
His work isheld by the Chartwell Collection at Auckland City Art Gallery and Waikato Museum of Art andHistory, Hamilton, New Zealand. Kees has been documenting the lifestyles of ethnic minoritygroups in Luang Namtha province of Laos since 2002.
He was drawn to this subject during hisfirst visit to the province in November 2002. He learned that this province had the highestnumber of different ethnic groups in all of Laos. Many images shown in this exhibition are from his cooperation with the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre in Luang Prabang, Laos.
About Blue Johnson
African-American photographer and graphic artist, “Bangkok Blue” Johnson has had a 30-year
love affair with Thailand. He has lived in the country and over the years, has photographed many of the historic wonders found inside the Kingdom.
His specialty has been to photograph, the colorful, multi-ethnic hill tribes who reside in the Golden Triangle region of northern Thailand.
For 30 years Blue has witnessed and photographed many of the ongoing changes seen in the hilltribe cultures, due to progress and the influences of tourism and modern technology. Many of
Blue’s hill tribe photographs have been published in Thailand in various publications.
Blue studied arts and design at UCLA and Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and he was naturally drawn into creative expression, through the use of a camera. Now being semi-retiredfrom the music business, he aspires to exhibit his photographs while also publishing books of his collective works.
About Le Méridien
Le Méridien, the French-born hotel brand currently represented by 105 properties in 50 countries,was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) in November 2005.
Since then, Le Méridien has gone through a brand revitalization, which included appointing a
full-time Cultural Curator – French arts-provocateur Jérôme Sans – and transforming numerous
guest touch points, thus brining unique and interactive experiences to its guests. With close to 80 of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, Le Méridien
provides a strong international complement to Starwood’s primarily North American holdings.
Plans call for dynamic expansion of Le Méridien hotels and resorts within the next five years,
concentrating in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, including destinations such as