One of the Lao artists starting to gain international attention is Souliya Phoumivong who was born in 1983. Originally trained as a painter, since 2010 increasingly Phoumivong’s work is moving towards video art, stop motion animation, and photography. This seems to be a direction stemming from the influence of his residency at the Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo, Japan. There, he created his first Claymation work.
Phoumivong established Clay House Studio in 2012 to focus more on his video and stop-motion works. This is the first of its kind in Laos, and it would be interesting to see what might happen if he has a chance to interact with the Lao American stop motion community in California.
The Emotion is a 10-minute video installation of his, produced using locally-sourced clay from Singapore during a recent residency. It was conceived as an experiment in time and texture. The Emotion continues Phoumivong’s investigation into alternative forms of artistic creation. This is considered distinctive to many artists knowledgeable about Laos because visual art in the country is still focused mostly on painting, traditional dance and music, or live film as seen in the Lao New Wave cinema or the work of Mattie Do.
His studio is presently overseeing numerous projects including the first Lao claymation TV show that has lasted over 4 seasons. Phoumivong lectures at the Department of Communication Design at the National Institute of Fine Art in Vientiane and is the Junior Curator for “Condition Report” in 2017, a collaborative project by Japan Foundation Asia Centre, an international effort to support the development of emerging curators from Japan and Southeast Asia.
Phoumivong’s work has been included in exhibitions such as Missing Links, The Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, Thailand (2015) and Cross+Scape, ASEAN-Korea Contemporary Media Art Exhibition, Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea (2011).