Hosted by Legacies of War Board Member Kasey Chaleunsouk at The Westport - Rooftop Lounge
Artist Talk by Sisavanh Phouthavong Houghton
Food and drinks generously coordinated by renowned Chef and owner of Tribeca restaurant Khe-Yo, Soulayphet “Phet” Schwader
Art Auction | Authentic Lao Cuisine | Traditional Baci Ceremony
Join us on our mission to advocate for the removal of unexploded bombs in Laos!
Get your tickets now!
In the Northern Lao province of Xieng Khouang a 10 year old girl picked up a baseball-sized object in March 2017 and brought it back to her home, where it exploded, injuring twelve people and killing one. The “bombie” was one of millions dropped more than forty years earlier by the U.S. as part of undeclared war on Laos. The widespread presence of this unexploded ordnance (UXO) undermines not only health outcomes in this impoverished country, but also stymies economic development and land use.
Over the last 20 years, demining teams have been clearing land of bombs, but at the current level of funding, it is estimated to take 100 years.
Guests will learn how Legacies of War is working to address this critical issue, including awareness-raising and healing through the arts. The night will feature a special artist talk by Nashville-based Sisavanh Phouthavong Houghton, award-winning visual artist and educator, whose recent show, “Legacies of War,” was received with critical acclaim. Original historic illustrations and narratives collected in a Vientiane refugee camp in the early 70s by US bombings survivors will represent the past. Together with Sisavanh’s current body of work and contemporary visual art pieces, these testimonies tell the recurring stories and theme of tragedy and resilience.
Proceeds from the event will support Legacies of War's life-saving and awareness-raising programs, including the development of a traveling exhibit in Laos, which would return home some of the original drawings created over 40 years ago by bombing survivors in Xieng Khoang. Learn about the history of the Secret War and how it impacts people that were born decades after the war. Get to know Lao culture and traditions. Finally, get to know the renowned artist Sisavanh and learn about her personal story. Join us to mix, mingle, sample authentic Lao cuisine, and support a great cause!
About the Artist
Sisavanh's source material for research is autobiographical and stems from her personal experience as a refugee, mother, wife, teacher, citizen, and observer of everyday culture. Her work has been seen in solo, juried, and invitational exhibitions throughout the U.S., France, Belgium, and New Zealand. She has been published in the Studio Visit magazine, recognized as a New Superstar of Southern Art by Oxford American and most recently four of her bronze work has been chosen by Arts in the Embassy for a permanent collect at the new American Embassy building in Paramaribo, Suriname.
Her most recent exhibition, “Legacies of War”, was inspired by the nonprofit with the same namesake. Legacies of War addresses the lingering dangers of the Vietnam War-era bombing in Laos and continuing use of cluster bombs in other parts of the world. The organization integrates arts, culture, education, dialogue, and advocacy to bring people together and create healing and hope out of the wreckage of war.
In her work, Sisavanh confronts the challenges of bicultural memory and documentation through powerful acrylic work and challenges the viewer to remember both their inner and external histories in a diaspora framed by secrecy and loss. “Art for Change - Laos Transpired” will invites guests to reflect on the history of the Secret War and ramifications of war while probing what is shared, what is felt, and what must remain deeply personal among the lessons passed on the next generation as it heals and rebuilds.
About the “Voices from the Plain of Jars” Drawings
The event will also showcase original historic illustrations and narratives collected by Fred Branfman and Bouangeun Luangpraseut (Nguen) between 1970 and 1971 in a Vientiane refugee camp where victims of US bombings fled. The drawings and narratives became the foundation of Legacies of War’s early beginnings. They represent the past - voiceless, faceless, nameless and directly impacted refugees, who endured an air war campaign perpetuated in secrecy and unknown to the outside world. The simplicity of the drawings and narratives emphasize that the illustrations were not artist or writers, just ordinary villagers who bore witness to the devastating events.
The drawings were brought from Laos in 1972 and used in a U.S. Congressional hearing about the status of refugees in Southeast Asia. These drawings were the first-person testimonial to come out of the ravaged nation and helped to expose the decade-long U.S. secret war in Laos.
These drawings helped the Lao diaspora in the U.S. to connect to this little-known history. Legacies of War seeks to raise funds to return these drawings back to Laos - to their rightful home - so the people of Laos, especially the younger generation, will know this history of war and refuge. And that the historic drawings, showing survival and resiliency, may inspire the people of Laos to create a safe and bright future for their country.
Questions? Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Legacies of War
1312 9th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Visit us at www.legaciesofwar.org