Douangdeuane Bounyavong – Laos

Linked with our presentation of Lao literature (in English and Lao). Also with Thierry Falise – Belgium & Thailand, and with Vanida S. Thephsouvanh – Laos & France.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “I want to make the wonderful world of books accessible to all children.”

Douangdeuane Bounyavong (born 1947) is dedicated to the promotion of literacy and cultural experience through books in a country with a very limited reading tradition, due to lack of education and resources. She founded and is now directing and writing for Dokked Publishing and bookstore in Vientiane, a small independent publishing house, which focuses on titles for children and women, securing the necessary funding through successful networking abroad. She has established many libraries in rural regions and is working to improve the working conditions and quality of teachers. (Read on this 1000peacewomen site).

Douangdeuane Bounyavong – Laos

One of the foremost cultural figures of Laos, Ms. Douangdeuane Bounyavong has contributed to promoting traditional Lao culture, particularly textiles and traditional weaving techniques, and studying and disseminating Lao literature.

Born into an intellectually active family, Ms. Bounyavong received her higher education in Laos and France. After returning home, she dedicated herself to the study of classical Lao literature and traditional culture. She devoted herself to studying the Lao classical epic, “Thao Hung Thao Cheuang.” She received wide acclaim after publishing the results of her research into Lao rituals and tradition described in this epic. As she began to see her studies into classical Lao literature bear fruit, Ms. Bounyavong extended her interest in traditional culture beyond literature. She turned her attention to textiles, another aspect of the country’s traditional culture. Laos has a rich heritage of traditional textiles. Indeed, there are so many that it is said each family has its own distinctive textiles and clothing. From her research into the significance of the different motifs incorporated in these textiles, her activities grew to encompass a wide range of textile-related subjects. In addition to historical research into traditional Lao textiles, she became involved with preserving and succeeding traditional textile techniques, activities to raise awareness, efforts to improve the social status of the women weaving the textiles, and exhibiting these textiles abroad. She established the Group for the Promotion of Art and Lao Textiles in 1990 as part of a group of five women, beginning full-fledged efforts to preserve the textiles and the traditional techniques used to make them. The following year, she served as a consultant to the Preservation and Promotion of Lao Textiles project conducted by the Lao Women Union with a grant from UNICEF. As part of this project, she established the Sin Sai Mai textile gallery. That same year, 1991, she attended the Asia Textile Conference held at Chiang Mai University in Thailand as a representative of Laos. She also exhibited textiles designed under her supervision and received the UNESCO Craft Prize. Ms. Bounyavong has continued her enthusiastic activities for restoring and developing traditional Lao textiles by holding textile exhibits and workshops in Thailand, the United States, France, and Japan in addition to Laos. Her book, “Infinite Design: The Art of Silk”, published in 1995, won plaudits in Laos and abroad as the first research work on traditional Lao textiles written by a Lao. She further promoted her textile research through a project with the Japan Foundation. That research led to the publication of “Legends in the Weaving” in 2001. Ms. Bounyavong’s wide-ranging activities are supported by the strong resolve shown in her statement, “The traditional Lao textile is an integral part of our culture. It has great value, and I devote myself to protecting its techniques and tradition.” These activities have made a significant contribution to preserving, inheriting, and developing traditional Lao and Asian culture. She is indeed a worthy laureate of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes. Textiles and costumes as a rich traditional heritage of the people of Laos are still present in their daily lives. Natural colors and the variety of motifs which you see in the textiles, incorporate the wishes of the weavers and their history. The textiles which are woven for various stages of people’s lives such as births and funerals, constitute a special artistic form lasting from one’s birth to one’s death. (Read more on The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes).

She provided the Maha Sila Text to the Maha Sila Dictionary Project (of CRCL Inc.), to support Dr. Souneth Phothisane (formerly Director of the Lao National Museum).

Book: “Infinite Design: The Art of Silk”.

links:

Traditional Lao Literature;

Laos Cultural Profile;

Assumption Univ. of Thailand, online catalogue;

Lao Studies;

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