A New Exhibition Shines Light on the Talent of Lao Artists

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Visitors check out the art on display at the festival.

The XYZ Contemporary Arts Exhibition was organized to showcase the work of talented Lao artists working across mediums like photography, painting, installation art, and textiles.

The XYZ Contemporary Arts Exhibition is a creative oasis in a place where you’d probably least expect it. It is being held on the first floor of the Parkson mall, which would probably be inundated with brightly lit shops selling clothes, shoes, electronics, etc. if we were not on the heels of a pandemic. You instead have canvasses adorning makeshift walls, installations hanging from ceilings that are yet to be painted, and young people walking swiftly across unpolished floors to get a closer look at their favorite artwork.

The paintings in acrylic and oil are often bright pops of color rendering tourist attractions like the temples of Luang Prabang, Kuang Si waterfall, the mountains of Vang Vieng, and the That Luang stupa in a new light. There are also paintings where the human form merges seamlessly with animals like the monkey, tiger, or buffalo to highlight the importance of being one with nature around us. Some artists indulge in a bit of nostalgia and have painted the markets they visited with their mothers as children or the villages and towns they grew up in.

Some of the artworks on display at the exhibition.

One of the standout installations at the exhibition is made with paper and titled, “Floating city in the cloud? Could you build a floating city? Floating city appears in the sky”, by Singha Sihakhom, which explores the idea of floating cities through visions for the future as we fight against the impact of global climate change.

Another remarkable installation was by young artist Willie Xaiwouth, which showed a human figure made of metal wires sitting on its knees with its hand stretched out and strings tugging at it from a dark blob at the center of its chest. The artwork is emblematic of how obstacles and bad times are fleeting and there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel.

The exhibition also gives a platform for children to express their creative selves. The installation art called “Our Mother Nature” made by students of Pathana School symbolizes how one should love nature and think about what they must do to protect our environment, which we are lucky to call our home. The artwork was put together by using plastic bottles, metal, and cement and hopes to make an urgent plea to combat climate change so that future generations could also have a home in nature.

There are also moving photographs on display holding up the lives of people in the country from monks to tribal women and young residents who are trying to make a living in the capital city. The textiles gallery displays the talented craftsmanship of Lao weavers working with materials like cotton and silk.

The XYZ Contemporary Arts Exhibition is on until October 25 between 9 am to 8 pm at Parkson Mall with free entry, and is worth a checkout!