Beverages (Osotspa); education (Bangkok University)
The Thai art collector Petch Osathanugrah is the heir to and current CEO of the family-owned beverage company Osotspa. Founded in 1891, the legendary brand produces such iconic Thai energy drinks as SHARK Cool Bite and M-150. But, more so than for his business ventures, Petch he may be better known in his home country for his eccentric style—he wears his hair big, and he often sports clothes quite unlike the kind one might expect from a CEO. As with the ownership of his drinks company, art collecting runs in the family—Petch’s father, Surat, was one of Thailand’s most significant collectors during his lifetime.
Soon Petch will have another claim to fame: the Dib Bangkok Museum of Contemporary Art, which is set to become a fixture in the Thai capital’s closely watched art scene. With 129,000 square feet of space, the museum will host special exhibitions and presentations of Petch’s holdings, which the collector has accumulated over the course of three decades. His collection is global, with Thai artists such as Montien Boonma represented, as well as European and American juggernauts like Pablo Picasso, David Salle, and Damien Hirst.
“I consider Thai contemporary art to be an integral part of international art and I include work that has either international recognition or the potential for it,” Petch told CoBo Social. “Thai art, except for maybe two or three artists, doesn’t have a big influence on the world. The other artists seem to be mainly at galleries that are focused on Asian or Southeast Asian art.” Dib Bangkok is partly intended as an effort to correct for the under-representation of Thai contemporary art internationally. When it opens to the public in 2022, the museum will be one of the biggest art spaces in Thailand. “For me,” Petch told Cura/Genda magazine in 2018, “art is for contemplating and experiencing the present moment, and hopefully, take us beyond the limitations of our thinking mind, which is mostly mundane and shallow, and definitely not for speculating or investment.”