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Weaving to Survive Textiles Exhibit Now Open

This season at the Gordon Parks Gallery, master weaver Bounxou Chanthraphone (Daoheuang) and Laddavanh Insixiengmay are convening a special exhibit, Weaving to Survive.

The Gordon Parks Gallery is located in the new Library and Learning Center on the St. Paul Campus at 645 East Seventh Street in Minnesota. They are open Monday – Thursday from 11 AM – 7 PM and Saturday from 11 AM – 4 PM. The gallery is closed on Fridays. You can reach them by phone at 651-793-1631. If you want to request accommodations for a disability, call Disability Services at 651-793-1540 or 651-772-7687 (TTY).

Weaving to Survive had their opening reception on Thursday, April 19, and now runs from April 20 – July 26, 2012. They’ll be giving demonstrations of traditional weaving on April 23, 1-3 pm and April 28, 2-4 pm.

This exhibition features traditional Lao weaving by the nationally acclaimed Lao Minnesotan artists Bounxou Chanthraphone Daoheuang and Laddavanh Insixiengmay.

Regarding the exhibition, guest curator and Executive Director of the Textile Center, Margaret Miller has said, “Growing up on a silk farm in Laos, Bounxou learned to spin, dye and weave from her mother and grandmother. At age 16 she began formally study of the weaving techniques and designs of her region. Then in the mid 1970’s Bounxou was forced to flee her war-torn homeland. In the middle of the night disguised as a fisherman she rowed across the river to a Thai refugee camp. Leaving everything behind she carried with her only her loom’s reed. At the camp she waited until Laddah her 8-year-old daughter could be smuggled across the river. During the three years they spent in the camp Bounxou managed to sell her gold jewelry to buy lumber for a loom and thread to weave. She was able to sell her work to foreign visitors so she could buy food for her daughter. After arriving in the States, Bounxou continued her love and passion for Lao weaving while working to support herself and her daughter. She has taught many classes to the Lao community determined to carry on the tradition. Now she is teaching her daughter, Laddah the intricacies of the complex techniques and designs.”

This exhibition simultaneously celebrates the weaving traditions of Laos and the extraordinary commitment that these artists have made to preserve their cultural heritage. Be sure to check it out!

In Star Tribune:

-Bryan Thao Worra

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