Category Archives: Entertainment

Voices of the Wind

“We take bamboo and we take trees and we turn them into traditional music.”

– Neng Chue Vang, Hmong instrument maker and musician

Furball 2018: Animal Love, Welfare Aspirations Light Up The Night in Laos

Furball 2018 for Vimaan Suan Foundation in Vientiane Laos.

Fashionable Folk and Animal Spirits were very much in attendance as the very first Furball 2018 touched down in the Lao capital Saturday with some 150 folk in attendance.

Attendees helped raise funds for construction of a secure fence to mark the perimeter of Laos’ very first sanctuary for aged, infirm and other domestic animals, offering treatment and dignity to felines and “man’s best friend” alike.

In a salute to the effort, an entertainment line up of some of Laos biggest names such as Ola of the band Black Eyes, Aluna Thavansouk and Tot Lina hit the stage with well known tunes in Lao and English languages.

The musical feast was preceded by multiple courses of Crowne Plaza Hotel’s very finest kitchen creations.

Love Me, Love My Dog

Coming out to the strains of 70s British pop singer Peter Shelley’s hit was Aluna Thavansouk.

She also thrilled the charity’s supporters with her version of John Lennon’s legendary Imagine.

You Make Me So Very Happy

Attendees were treated to the rare reemergence of Singapore-bred & Laos-based inspiration Shanaynay, who lent her voice and presence to thrill the crowd.

The smooth voice of Sanonh and the up and coming vocals of Pepsi Song Contest Winner Kob also tickled the fancy of the animal lovers in attendance.

Furry Friends for a Cause

The fundraising Gala supports the Vimaan Suan Foundation’s Sanctuary Building Fund.

Proceeds from FurBall 2018 are be earmarked for Phase One of the construction of the Sanctuary located in Naxaythong District.

According to organisers, “each ticket sold will help build approximately 1 meter of wall that is 3 meters tall to protect the resident animals from predators and dog/cat thieves.

“Additional funds raised will be used to raise the level of the land to ensure the safety of the resident animals in the event of flooding.”

 


Furball 2018 for Vimaan Suan Foundation in Vientiane Laos.

Art + Altitude: Elevations Takes Exploration of Laos’ Depth of Artistic Forms, Inspirations to New Heights

Depths by Elevations Laos (Laos Briefly)

by Julia Case-Levine

Traditional practices accompany contemporary trends in Depths, the inaugural exhibit of Elevations, a non-profit art initiative launched this month in the Southeast Asian nation of Laos.

Launched last Friday night in the Lao capital Vientiane and continuing until January 16th, the exhibition is both an international event, including artists from China to Cambodia, and a celebration of work of three local artists, Tcheu Siong, Bounpaul Phothyzan and Souliya Phoumivon.

This month, the trio will become the first-ever group of artists from Laos to be included in Brisbane, Australia’s Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, the Queensland Art Gallery’s Gallery of Modern Art’s flagship exhibition.

Depths is divided into three “chapters”—Other, Lands and Selves—reflecting themes explored in the work of Siong, Phothyzan, and Phoumivon respectively.

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

These sections, each occupying a room at I:Cat, present traditional visual and textile work alongside contemporary sculpture, installations and audio-visuals.

The result is a sprawling, impressive debut fitting an ambitious new organization.

Significantly, Depths showcases video and material installation by artists from Laos —including forms that have not always resonated with a local audience.

As Phothyzan explained in a panel at Elevation’s opening symposium; “When I exhibited conceptual work in Laos once before, the reaction was not good. The interest was not here—the thought was that the arts must be drawing, painting, visuals.”

In Depths, Phothyzan’s material installation is a trio of mounted bombshells, each precariously supporting an empty, white, hauntingly pristine birdhouse. His work powerfully reflects both on the devastations of Laos’ recent history of war and his late father’s career as a soldier.

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

At Elevation’s Symposium event, Lao artists spoke of the pressure to focus on traditional painting and sculpture as these forms remain the most lucrative, thanks to the demand that is driven by the tourist industry.

Phoumivon, who graduated from Laos’ National Institute of Fine Arts in 2008, found his departure from visual work met with outright disapproval: “People asked me, how are you going to feed your family, make money in Laos if you are not painting?”

Erin Gleeson, Elevation’s founding artistic director and curator, hoped to answer this question by developing a space supportive of both traditional and non-visual art forms. Says Gleeson: “We wanted to create an environment in which it felt right to show not only painting but also [installation] work artists might usually show outside.”

Phoumivon’s marvellous stop-motion animation—an eerie, playful series depicting humans transforming into a colorful herd of buffalo—represents, in part, Phoumivon’s struggle to resist social pressure and follow his artistic instincts.

“It’s easy to follow the train of society—to become a buffalo. If you simply follow trends, follow materialistic impulses, even highly educated people can become buffalos,” Phoumivon says.

While Elevations places Lao artists among their international peers in Depths, the organization also aims to encourage growth in the local art world. Public programs—ranging from film screenings to art-classes—offer support for emerging artists.

A reading room in Little House Café, a short walk from the gallery, allows patrons to browse texts on art history, theory and practice, while children can color on worksheets inspired by the gallery exhibition.

In addition to its public programs, Elevations is organizing a competition for local emerging artists on even years and a subsequent international exhibition on odd years.

Elevations was founded by Gary Stafford of the Spellbrook Foundation. Stafford served as a managing director of Brisbane-based copper and gold miner PanAust Limited, best known in Laos for its Phu Bia Mining subsidiary.During Stafford’s 18 years managing PanAust, he frequently travelled to Laos, his interest in art collection gradually familiarizing him with the local scene.

When he began investigating how to support emerging Lao artists he was introduced to Gleeson, who at the time was serving as curator and the founding Artistic Director of SA SA BASSAC in Phnom Penh.

The two collaborated to create a unique initiative that would best suit Laos, drawing on support from the Australian Embassy, STELLA, and I:Cat gallery.

Elevations aims to enrich an artistic ecosystem in Southeast Asia by nurturing connections between diverse artists. “If we bring the right people together, networks are formed and opportunities are made,” Gleeson says.

Guo-Liang Tan, an exhibiting artist from Singapore, attests. “Already we’ve exchanged many stories, developed personal and professional relationships.”

Tan also observed the opportunity for intercultural learning afforded by exhibiting abroad. “It’s a great chance for those of us not from Laos to learn about a place many of us have not yet been.”

The visiting artists were introduced to Vientiane on a tour led by Elevations last Friday, focusing on the city’s artistic and literary history.

Although Depths’ range can be dizzying, its lack of focus is often a strength—in moments, contrast creates a delightful tension between works.

Such is the case in the exhibition’s second chapter, Lands, in which a panel of austere, serene water patterns are shown beside destructive, explosive rivers in looping video footage of the impact of humanity on nature for our modern power needs.

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

Among a number of superb pieces—such as prints that transform abandoned lots into dreamy landscapes and a photo-series that documents a Hmong legend as lived out in America—the colorful, enigmatic needlework of Lao artist Tcheu Siong is not to be missed.

Siong translates her dreams into large-scale textiles, relying on Hmong mythology and her husband’s shamanistic practice as interpretive tools. While her work is rooted in tradition, the product is something utterly unique, and unlike the full canvases and bold geometric patterns of traditional Hmong textile.

Her textiles depict human figures engulfed in cheerfully polka-dotted creatures. Heart shaped decals flower across the canvas like otherworldly eyes. Appliqués appear simple geographic forms at first glance, but upon closer observation reveal themselves as bodied animals and humans.

The blend of old and new in Siong’s work perhaps best exemplifies Depth’s power as a conceptually modern exhibition that doesn’t belittle or dismiss traditional practices but considers how these may be used in fresh and unusual ways.

Text: Julia Case-Levine
Images: Laos Briefly

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)
Depths, an exhibition by Elevations at I:Cat Gallery Simeuang Village in Vientiane, Laos. (Laos Briefly)

Depths at I: Cat Gallery, Simeuang Village, Vientiane Capital, Laos until January 16, 2019.

Opening hours:

Everyday 11:00 – 18:00

Phone for appointment: 020 77839674

Email: icatgallery@gmail.com

Depths Exhibition by Elevations Laos

Depths Exhibition by Elevations Laos

Securing Laos’ First Animal Sanctuary for Aged & Infirm Pet & Domestic Furries Sees Friends Flocking to Ball for Wall

Friends of Fur Gathering at Ball for A Wall At Laos' First Animal Sanctuary
Albert Einstein & Friends Would Come Out For Furball 2018

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals” – Albert Einstein

Hey smart ladies and gents! Animal lovers!! All friends of the fur in Laos!!!

Vimaan Suan Foundation and Crowne Plaza Vientiane jointly present FurBall 2018, a fundraiser for the Vimaan Suan Foundation’s Sanctuary Building Fund that touches down in Vientiane on November 24, 2018.

Award-winning celebrities from Laos including Aluna Thavonsouk, Tot Lina, Ola, Sanonh Maniphonh will be joined by 2018 Pepsi Singing Contest Winner Kob to entertain supporters attending the gala dinner.

Vimaan Suan Foundation is the first foundation dedicated to improving the welfare of domestic animals/pets in Laos to be registered in the country.

Programmes supported by the Foundation include vaccination projects, school and youth education programmes, community service programmes, capacity building programmes and a sanctuary for senior and special-needs dog and cats.

Based on estimates, each ticket sold will help build about 1 square meter of a wall that is some 3m tall to that will help to protect the sanctuary’s resident animals.

All proceeds raised will be earmarked for the First Phase of construction for the sanctuary which is located in Vientiane’s Naxaythong district.

Exclusive partners for FurBall 2018 are BeerLao, Carlsberg, AEnoteca, BlueGrass Design Group, Sisane Artist and Rajah and Tann Asia.

Sponsors and supporters include Lao Tobacco Limited, Mercure Vientiane, Vientiane Dog Paradise, Yokohama Japanese Restaurant, Hangout Restaurant, intown Restaurant, LV Imex, International Veterinary Centre, RDK Group, Tukata Vientiane Nursery, Super BBQ, Coco Bar, The Laotian Times, Soap4Life, Bounxouei Foundation, iVET, Saoban, Panyanivej Organic Farm, MyVet, Planet Internet, KPY, Terminal 8, Lao Lake House, Animal Doctors International with more being added as they are confirmed.

Tickets are $120 and are available at Crowne Plaza Vientiane (please ask for Rhandy), Vientiane Dog Paradise, Yokohama Japanese Restaurant, intown Restaurant, Hangout Restaurant, LV Imex, Bar the Way and directly from Vimaan Suan Foundation volunteers. Tables of 8 are available for $100 per person (total $800) if purchased before November 22, 2018. Credit card sales are available at HangOut Restaurant, intown Restaurant and LV Imex.

Securing Laos' 1st Animal Sanctuary, Friends of Fur Gather for Ball for Wall

Securing Laos' 1st Animal Sanctuary, Friends of Fur Gather for Ball for Wall

20USD per head discount for full table bookings

Friends of Fur Gathering at Ball for A Wall At Laos' First Animal Sanctuary

Getting to know Parkson

Parkson Laos
  1.   What is Parkson?

Parkson Retail Group Ltd, is a subsidiary of Lion Group Malaysia, which became a publicly listed company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2005. Parkson operates 115 retail outlets across Asia, including shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets. Its annual income reaches over 3.77 billion dollars.

  1.  What is Parkson preparing to do in Laos?

Parkson is preparing to open a shopping center in Laos located in Section A of the World Trade Center, next to Vientiane Center. In the future Parkson may invest in other activities such as property development, financial investment, duty free shopping, natural resources, and other areas.

  1.  How does Parkson position itself?

Parkson is a quality shopping centre for the community and for families within Laos.

  1.   What brands will Parkson be bringing to Laos?

The brands Parkson will be bringing to Laos will include international brands of cosmetics and international apparel. Parkson will also feature its own boutique supermarket, as well as food and beverage outlets from Thailand, China, and Malaysia. At the same time, Parkson will strive to attract even more international brands such as H&M, UNIQLO, KFC, McDonald’s and Starbucks to fill the gap in the Lao market.

Parkson Laos

  1.  What strategy will you use to attract customers to Parkson?

Parkson has a sound and proven business model which includes the Parkson Supermarket, Parkson Food Court, international cosmetics area, cinema, sports area, all types of Southeast Asian restaurants, gaming area, international clothing brands, children’s play area, training center, beauty and dental clinics.

Parkson guarantees that all products purchased in our shopping malls are genuine products authorized by their individual brand.

We will make every effort to ensure that our pricing is in line with that of products for sale in other countries to ensure an internationally accommodating consumer experience.

  1.  What kind of special activities or promotions will Parkson have?

Parkson will customize our promotion plan according to traditional festivals in Laos. We will also

hold fashion shows, make-up shows, music festivals, food festivals, and occasionally invite Lao celebrities to the shopping mall.

  1. What is the capacity for parking?

The parking facilities at the shopping center include over 2,000 parking spaces. Parking will be free.

  1. Do you have a plan to offer online shopping?

At the moment only the Parkson stores in China and Malaysia offer online shopping, because these countries have high populations and good conditions for online shopping. If the conditions in Laos were right, we would also offer online shopping here too.

  1.  How can we stay in the loop about Parkson’s promotions and activities?

You can get all kinds of info about Parkson by following the PARKSON LAOS Facebook page. After opening, Parkson will send promotional and event information to members through a special membership system.

 

Originally Published in: Champa Meuanglao

Authentic, Natural, Timeless: Lao Gifts, Souvenirs at Handicraft Festival ’18

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

There is no doubt that Laos is a place with a multitude of natural and cultural wonders, experiences and delights and traditional handicraft wares to share with the nation and world.

Whether decorative or for daily use, the handmade items made by individuals, families and communities in this country can make great souvenirs or gifts for folk near and far.

Yet in our busy lives, it’s sometimes hard to get access to them all in the same place when you need them.

Fortunately, the Lao Handicraft Festival 2018 is here once again to solve all your Laos-related seasonal shopping dilemmas.

Awaiting inside are traditional and modern fashion, clothing and textiles and accessories in all kinds of natural materials to furniture, decor, tea, coffee and more.

Descending on the capital from provinces across the country are artisans bringing not only their skills but also their commitment to keeping multiethnic Lao traditions alive in old, new and increasingly entrepreneurial ways.

Laos has 49 officially recognized ethnic groups, each with its own unique take on craft styles and traditions, particularly noticeable through distinctive traditional clothing.

In addition to shopping, visitors to the festival can also enjoy fashion shows, craft demonstrations, workshops and product design competitions.

According to Tourism Laos, the festival is a platform for artisans to display and demonstrate craftsmanship that has been passed down from one generation to the next.

As well as selling their work, artists who exhibit their work at the festival enjoy the opportunity to share and celebrate their cultural heritage with visitors.

Ethnic patterns, motifs and techniques have a timeless appeal.

While international fashion may take inspiration from tribal designs and motifs, Lao handicraft are the authentic reflections of hundreds (if not thousands) of years of culture, artistry and skill.

Each year, over 200 artists from around the country travel to Vientiane to participate in the festival and sell an extensive variety of products including textiles, jewellery, non-timber and recycled products, pottery and many other cultural items.

Beautiful handmade pieces are on sale to suit all budgets, from inexpensive souvenirs to exquisite high-end collectables.

Food & beverage products such as coffee, tea, oils, juices, liquors & spices produced in Lao are also a key feature of the event.

So make your way down to Lao-ITECC exhibition hall today to take it all in, and don’t forget to spend generously; your hard-earned kip goes a long way in the hands of the hardworking folk of these communities, allowing them to access the products and services that allow them to continue making the most of the opportunities afforded them and keep fine traditions alive for the next generation and beyond.
What: *Lao Handicraft Festival 2018*
Date: October 27th to November 4th, 2018
Time: 11:00-18:00 
Venue: Lao-ITECC (Vientiane Capital), Khampengmueang Rd (T4).

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

Lao handicraft Festival 2018

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018 (images via Laos Briefly)

 

 

 

Buddhist Lent, Boat Racing Festivities as Vientiane’s Riverside Roads Close

Pedestrians & Cyclists rule! Road closures for Boat Racing Festival 2018 in Vientiane Capital

Vientiane’s Mekong Riverside Don Chanh & Fa Ngum roads are closed temporarily from 22-27 October to mark the end of Buddhist Lent and the annual Boat Racing Festival.

The Security Department of Civil Works and Transport announced affected areas as:

  1. Donchanh Road (along the riverside from Pakpasak to Chao Anouvong Statue)
  2. Chao Fa Ngum Road (from the Pakpasak traffic light to Hophakeo museum)

 

Road Closure announcement in Vientiane Laos

Road Closure announcement in Vientiane Laos

Vientiane’s City 2 Bus has also announced route changes during the festival.

Vientiane City 2 Bus Route Changes

Vientiane City 2 Bus Route Changes for 2018 Boat Racing Festival

Ride sharing App Loca advises passenger patience and a safe trip. Drive safely! Don’t drink!

Loca Advises Driver and Passenger patience during festivities.

Loca Advises Driver and Passenger patience during festivities.

 

Honors Aplenty: Lao Trio’s Diverse Contributions At Home, Abroad Attract Gongs from Japan

Laos' trio Madame Chantasone Inthavong, Mr Somphou Douangsavanh and Ms Alexandra Bounxouei

It’s been nothing if not an eventful week or so for three Lao citizens who have made their own very distinctive contributions in diverse efforts and fields, strengthening the cultural links and future prospects for people in landlocked Laos and on the Japanese archipelago alike.

Likely the most well-known of the trio among the general public, popular songstress Alexandra Bounxouei (Sandra) was the first of the three to collect home her recognition.

According to her profile, Sandra has been a regular visitor to Japan and been performing in collaboration with Japanese artists since the early 2000s and acted as a goodwill ambassador for educational projects and organizations such as  JICA (Japan International Corporation Association) and PSI (Population Service International), Unicef, WPO and many more.

The multilingual vocalist, violinist and voice actor, studying a PhD in Media Design at Tokyo’s Keio University took home a Foreign Ministers’ award that was presented in Vientiane by Japan’s Ambassador to Laos, Takeshi Hikihara.

The next in line to be honoured was Madame Chantasone Inthavong, who received a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President Award in Tokyo from JICA president Mr Shinichi Kitaoka.

Chantasone Inthavong

Laos’ Madame Chantasone Inthavong receives JICA President Award from Shinichi Kitaoka.

Madame Chantasone is a Japan-based textile expert and founder of the establishment of the Houey Hong Vocational & Training Centre, keeping the skills and spirit of Laos’ valuable textile culture alive in their hands of the up and coming generations.

She is also instrumental in the NGO Action with Lao Children that helps to provide books and educational materials to schools and their students in need in Laos.

Last but not certainly least, the third and final awardee Dr Somphou Douangsavanh, a long-serving representative of Laos’ National Assembly.

The Chairman of the NA’s Cultural and Social Committee, Dr Somphou was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun’s Gold and Silver Stars.

The Gold and Silver Stars are the second highest in the Order of the Rising Sun and is typically conferred upon prominent academics, politicians and military officers from both Japan and abroad.

The Order of the Rising Sun was established following Japan’s modernizing Meiji Era by the famed Emperor himself all the way back in 1875, and was known as the Imperial Order of Meiji before its renaming.

Mr Somphou was born in Xieng Khuang Province in 1954. He served as the President of the Lao-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association between 2011 and 2016.

During his tenure as President of the Lao-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association, Mr Somphou Douangsavanh was said to have made “invaluable contributions to the fruitful cooperation between the two countries through, among others, active exchanges with numerous members of the Japanese parliament”.

His award ceremony was attended by current President of the Laos-Japan Friendship Association, Ms Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun, who also serves as Minister of Education and Sports.

Mr Somphou Douangsavanh

Laos’ Mr Somphou Douangsavanh awarded by Japan’s Ambassador to Laos, Mr Takeshi Hikihara.

Mr Somphou Douangsavanh

Mr Somphou Douangsavanh