Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, a survey.

Dates & times

Fri 16 August — Sun 13 October 2019


ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Polophony, 2001. Acrylic on perforated canvas 170 x 120 cm.


Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, a survey.

Guest curator: Chaitanya Sambrani

This exhibition presents a selection of work produced across more than two decades by Laos-born Australian artist Savanhdary Vongpoothorn. Born in Laos in 1971, she migrated to Australia with her parents and siblings in 1979. After studying visual arts at the Universities of Western Sydney and New South Wales, Vongpoothorn has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1996. She has received a number of prestigious awards and residencies in Australia and overseas. Her work is held in major public, corporate and private collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

Vongpoothorn’s work is marked by an enduring interest in her South-East Asian origins and their relationship to contemporary Australia. Her language of abstract painting has incorporated formal and conceptual elements that originate in various traditions, including Australian and international modernism, textile patterns, mythology and incantations from mainland South-East Asia, minutiae of the Australian bush environment, and scriptural elements of Theravada Buddhism. Her deeply contemplative work is remarkable in sustaining creative and critical relationships with multiple influences. In doing this, Vongpoothorn bridges contemporary realities with historical reference, advancing a practice that is inherently hybrid and polyvalent.

The exhibition will feature approximately 50 of Vongpoothorn’s works ranging in scale from large triptychs on canvas to intimate works on paper. Drawn from major public and private collections across Australia, the exhibition and the accompanying publication will present a detailed study of Vongpoothorn’s work. Interculturality has long been a strong characteristic of the artist’s work. This has been recently extended further through her collaboration with noted Japanese tanka poet and calligrapher Noriko Tanaka. The exhibition will feature a major new installation of handmade Japanese paper resulting from this collaboration, which originated in the precincts of the Todai-ji temple complex in Nara, Japan.


Updated:  21 December 2018/ Responsible Officer:  DHG Director/ Page Contact:  Drill Hall Gallery