The Social and Symbolic Role of the Artist in Lao Tradition and the Diaspora
Catherine Choron-Baix & Tiao Nithakhong Somsanith




The Lao traditional conception of art is rapidly changing, both in the Lao PDR and among the Lao diaspora. In the old days, artistic creation was considered a devotional act, which connected the artist to his ancestors and protective deities. This spiritual aspect is now partly disappearing, especially among the younger generation. The Lao diaspora, nevertheless, find in art a way to keep in touch with the motherland. Some of these changes will be discussed, enlightened by the experience and artistic creations of Thao Somsanith Nithakhaong, a Lao painter and embroiderer now settled in France.