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Real Life to Abstract: Taking Idea From An Old Master Pieces Capturing Lao Imagination

November 24, 2009

If ten people looking at one painting and ask to write a short description of what you see in the composition, you will get ten different answers….

for century artist’s had painted pictures in different form of mediums from tile, Paper, wooded board and canvas to name a few. It’s really depended on where and what the resource is available.  In Laos some of the artist choose a local product such Saa paper to express their fine skills on a medium,what many of us called “fine art”. 

Ethic Girl At Work

While artist P Noy, currently living in Luang Prabang using the daily life of a hmong tribe and expressed on a canvas into a contemporary style given a vibrant colors, a traditional wardrobe with an “alien face like” make this painting surreal. She plays with textures and colors gave it a playful look to each of the composition. 

Another of her art work this time she focus on mostly the woman crafted jewelry decoration  the status and wealth in her tribe. Very similar to the photograph I took in Meung Sing.

Hmong girl in Decorate head-piece

While the masterpiece work of Marc Leguay, a french- lao impression artist lived in Laos from war world II until communist regime took over the lao government in 1976.  He is a well-known for his contribution to Laos Stamp in the early 60’s to 70’s. He immigrated to Thailand lived a quiet life in Ban Kok Nong Seng and  he died in 2001.  Many of his art works are in private collections,  a few pieces are in the Vientiane School of Fine Art, and Lao Embassy in France. The most recent published book by Francis Benteux “Marc Leguay Le peintre du Laos”.  A complete collections of  Marc Leguay works capture a true image of Laos in a tropical colors, from the landscapes to the portraits to a  lao- style daily living, his work is truly a master pieces for lao people to be proud of.

Similarity P Noy uses the old master piece idea. She took it and  interpreted to a modern lao version called “Grooming” painted in Saa paper this is a much more sharps, very geometric the hands and body are disproportional but yet very human with rigid expression in modern painting.  If you compared these two art works the style are very similar in composition, while Marc Legauy painting add a very fine details in his work from dark to light shadows while the flower arrangement added another depth to the composition. This represents a Laotian women the face is very rounded, the expression is very calm and very peaceful, her hair is beautifully pull back into a bun and decorated just a touch of fine pieces of jewelery. Her arms are very well proportional to her body, she rested her hand on a bed a hinted of the shadow of her arm in front of the young girl standing behind fixing her hair.

In a Process of preparing Saa Paper, Luang Prabang

 The  a local Luang Prabang fabrication of a bamboo tree made into a thin paper, from there it can be made into many different things such as: Paper for painting,  lanterns, bags, writing material etc…….You can purchase these hand- crafted items from the local store or in the evening market.  Every evening the main road are closed off  and the locals bringing their hand- crafted items from hand bags, purses, silk scarfs, pillow cover, blankets to Saa paper made into book or journal, and other variety of products use for home decorating decor.

  1. November 24, 2009 11:06 PM

    I love the night market, my dad bought several water colors there, and I bought mostly the ethnics (Hmong) bags.

    You’ve some nice pieces, the 3 ladies painting is absolutely beautiful, it made me think that they’re getting ready for a wedding party or something. I like abstract art as well, by us viewing the same picture differently only goes to show that we all think differently.

    • salalao permalink*
      November 24, 2009 11:38 PM

      I think back in the 40’s ladies usually are more drees up to go out. The painting looks like geting dress for her wedding. Yes you’re right there is no right or wrong answers in the interpretations as long as you enjoy arts that’s all it matter. Just think we some talent people back home.

  2. November 25, 2009 11:04 AM

    I would love to have some of those original paintings. There are so many great lao artists in Laos but their works never expose to the rest of the world.

    I used to draw a lot when I was in High School. I came close of attending art school and if I did, I probably turn out weirder. hahahahha

    One of my goals for next year is to get back to drawings. Also, framing some of my old master pieces:-).

    • salalao permalink*
      November 25, 2009 4:55 PM

      Yeah next time when you are in Luang Prabang stop by her store, it right next to 3 naga resturant.
      It is the most wonderful experienced to express your imagination into a paper or canvan or whatever you desire. Don’t wait until next year do it now, I like to see your master pieces, please post some.

  3. Victor permalink
    November 25, 2009 9:24 PM

    Damn! I have missed the store. Walked past 3 Nagas a few times, but my eyes must be wondering elsewhere. That picture of the 3 ladies is beautiful and the mirror reflection of the lady brusing her hair.

    Love the night market. Went there a few times, but not so sure about the roadside paintings. Saw some and those along Mekong River near the hotel we stayed. But, bought 3 sets of quilt cover and a few cotton scarfs. So cheap, only USD25 per quilt set and King as well!

    • salalao permalink*
      November 26, 2009 12:10 AM

      Victor- Thank for the complement on the painting, it is beautiful. The size of the painting is huge and the picture does not compare to the real thing. Every time I looked at it I get goose bump. It needs some cleaning and a little restoration work but other than that its in good condition.
      Yes Noy store is right next door, she and her husband are both artists. While I was there many of her painting that was neither sold or on hold.
      The road side painting are majority from the student’s from Luang Prabang School of Fine Art. It a short walking distance up from the mekong road. I find the student art work are not quite good. There is no moment,just very bland, no imgination put forth less focus yuy… As for the hand-crafted stuffs yes!!! you can get a bargin price for hand made item. I had a chance to visit a lot of the hmong tribes and I saw alot of the elders are teching the younger generation the craft I thought that is pretty cool by keeping the tradition going……

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