Lao Textiles: Contemporary Developments and Change

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Passa Paa, printed hemp cross-body bag, Luang Prabang. Image courtesy of Valerie Kirk.

Lao Textiles: Contemporary Developments and Change

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) has a rich history of textile production for domestic use, for ceremony and for the Lao royal family. After the Lao Civil War (1959-1975) and the Pathet Lao victory there was a period of isolation while the new government dealt with the devastation and began rebuilding the country. During the 1980s Lao PDR opened up to foreign trade, aid and international cooperation. Lao textiles diversified with experts and advisers coming in to the country, with development projects and new markets. From the 1990s tourism, external influences and international markets developed, new ideas were introduced, and culture and the economy changed at an ever increasing rate.

Since 2000 there has been a flourishing of Lao textile development, building on existing skills and traditions but embracing new ideas and markets. This presentation will give an overview of these changes and contemporary practice in Lao textiles today.

Valerie Kirk  studied at Edinburgh College of Art, then worked at the Australian Tapestry Workshop where she is now a board member. She was Head of Textiles at the ANU from 1990 – 2018, where her research into Lao textiles was a major focus. Her work has been exhibited in the International Fiber Art Biennales, China, World Textile Art Biennial, Mexico and The Cordis Prize, Scotland. Career highlights include being awarded the HRH Prince Charles Award, the Cite International des Arts Residency, Paris, Arts ACT Fellowship, Australia Council Awards, and the Teitelbaum Award for tapestry, USA.


Light refreshments will be served.

Please make all bookings and payments in advance, via the TAASA website
For further information email


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14 May
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm AEST
$20.00 – $30.00
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Annie Wyatt Room at the National Trust Centre
Upper Fort Street
Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia
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