All Lao Rehabilitation Foundation projects are funded by people and organizations like you. These projects help Laotians in desperate need of access to basic healthcare, education, and clean drinking water. Donations such as yours can make a enormous difference in people’s lives. Your contributions are fully tax deductible.
Checks should be made payable to:
Lao Rehabilitation Foundation, Inc.
86 El Nido Dr.
Napa, CA 94559
As an incentive for our donors, Portfolio Limited Edition Winery has donated its entire production of magnum bottles of wine, as well as a selection of Laotian inspired artworks by Luc Janssens for the profit of the Lao Rehabilitation Foundation, Inc.
Please inquire for Vintage, Volume, and Pricing.
Hand-pulled, signed and numbered, dust-grained photogravure, printed in limited edition on Lanaquarelle 650gr/m2. “Dust” (15 x 20): $2,000.00
A Collection of Poems by Shavan Dara
And Hand-pulled, Dust-grained Photogravures by Luc Janssens – Vientiane, November 1996
LAOS, Visions and Reflections, has been produced in a limited edition of 25 numbered copies and three artist’s proofs of Lanaquarelle 600 gm/M_. The portfolio contains nine dust-grained photogravures hand-pulled on the artist’s press in Napa, California and a selection of ten poems by Shavan Dara, written in Vientiane, Laos. The text was printed and the portfolio boxes were made by Arion Press, in San Fransisco, California. All the prints have been approved, numbered and signed by the artist and bear the seal of the artist’s studio.
Paper 15″ x 22.5″ – Plates 11″ x 11″ and 11″ x 13.5″
Price: Boxed portfolio, please inquire.
Some left, leaving behind a home that soon fell into disuse – roads of history stranded them aside. Life continued and renewed, as twenty years of absence wilted memories. I now return to haunt my own house, where cracked walls bear the fated pictures of a once united family, and every day I scrape a mountain of dust to unearth what time has chosen to silence.
The young mother on the boat from Pakbeng sits by my side. Bored by the silent stories of the river, she approaches my reading, leans over the words, leans over the letters she can not comprehend. Our eyes gaze in tandem until Luang Prabang where our roads diverge.
No whisper, not even a thought exchanged; both aware of our closeness and our separate journeys.
I brace myself for the terrible beauty of the Monsoon. Staring at me with her blue, green and purple eye, Pi May will give me three months of her laughter and drunkenness. The metamorphosis of the sky begins as heaven pours her tears and lashes my ears with the thick roar of thunder. The divine deluge on the burning roof refreshes the wet timber with the vivid scent of frangipani.
Timid mornings of fragmented sleep, eyelids are made heavy by nocturnal chattering of neighborhood hens, and gecko’s frantic dance on the ceiling; Kao Nhot rises from its foggy dream to the humming of morning motorcycles. The blood orange rays of dawn stretch across the worn floor. The spicy scent of braised timber tickles my nostrils. Water whips against the bathroom tiles, urging me to rise.
Yesterday, the bells in the tower of Piawat church pierced the clouds. Around him, the thick jungle sheltered Phis and naughty spirits as he walked the road to school. In front of Mahosot mortuary, his weakened legs trembled, rushing their pace. Each alley had its terror. Today, silent clouds blanket the roofs. My journey takes me in a few steps to cross the streets, to enter the alley. No longer are there ghosts, tigers and signs of vicious snakes, dear Uncle. Only the growling of annoying dogs disturbs. From its height, a large sign, “Honda” illuminates the gloomy nap of the homeless souls.
Memory haunts me – my recollections are strewn like fragments on a dusty waste ground consumed long ago by fire. I envy those who can tell the details of their pasts: long ago wars, colorful love affairs, old family stories. How can I remember when I cannot untie the wrappings on the charred portraits in the gallery of my origins?
My attachment to my country surprises me. Even with its weaknesses, I love it. Is it because I live the nostalgia of my grandmother? Is it because this thread of magic moments can be found nowhere else – the sweetness of rising with the bright glare of dawn spreading its colors, the humid days in which laziness and siesta are lifted to sophistication, nights of thunder that trap me in the courtyard to contemplate my limits?
Time erodes the drawn face of the Plain of Jars. Scars fade as history erases the stories, but marks remain on the silent field. With my naïve eyes, I shut myself to its old ghoulish sights.
“Hand in hand we will go back home with my nicest costume, my betel apparel,” you were telling me, May Tou, before you vanished, impatient, in a cloud of smoke. In Vientiane, today, Grandmother, in the altar of your room forever, I will sleep away your portrait, our nocturnal words, our smiles, our fears, our doubts, and your ashes.
Exile disease never goes away; it maintains itself and, with maturity, grows worse. I have a moment of confidence and pride in knowing there is another language, another culture. Until, at the threshold, doors of truth and understanding will not open. I am left with melancholy, the symptoms of my disease. Its doors lead me into a labyrinth looking for myself because long ago history made up its mind.
I was overwhelmed when Shavan Dara invited me to join her in Laos in November 1996 to document with camera a journey which took us from Vientiane to Houayxay, via Luangprabang and Pakbeng on the Mekong River. Having previously documented the migration of Laotian refugees in the United States from Minnesota to California, I felt privileged to have the opportunity to discover and reveal the faces of those who, caught in the Indochinese turmoil in 1974, stayed in Laos, while better understanding those who left, those who returned, and their innocent children.
The images contained in this portfolio were selected for their suitability to be etched on copper plates, while being a representative sample of my visions of a land and its kind, proud, independent and shy people. Far from being a visual illustration of Shavan Dara’s poetry, they provide a perspective which, in my view, harmonizes with the emotional and touching reflection of her perceptions as she returns to Laos, after long exile, and rediscovers her people and native land.