"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."
WHAT IS CULTURE?
Culture refers to the pattern of human activity and the symbols which give significance to this activity. Culture is represented through the art, literature, costumes, customs, and traditions of a community.
THE VALUE OF CULTURE:
Culture is a bond that ties the people of a region or community together. It is that one common bond, which brings the people of a community together. The customs and traditions that the people of a community follow, the festivals they celebrate, the kind of clothing they wear, the food they eat, and most importantly, the cultural values they adhere to, bind them together. The cultural values help develop a sense of belonging, and a feeling of unity in the minds of the people of that particular culture. People of a culture share their traditions and to a certain extent, their ideologies.
Prince Nithakhong Somsanith was born in Luang Prabang, the former royal capital city of Laos. He graduated from the National School of Medicine in Vientiane, Laos, before leaving his homeland in 1985 to continue his higher education in France. He received his Master's degree from the Institute of Visual Arts in L'Universite d'Orleans, and his Ph.D. in Psychology from L'Universite de Sorbonne. He made France his adopted home, and pursued a career in mental health counselling in Orleans until the summer of 2003.
In 2005 he returned to Laos where he now devotes his time predominantly to his art and education programs for the community with the mission to preserve, promote, and transmit the cultural and artistic heritage of Laos.
Though he has been occupied with other aspects of life, Prince Somsanith has held on to his childhood memories and he has a deep passion for Lao folk arts. He is a self-taught folk artist and feels it is a special gift that has been passed on to him from many generations.
He spends countless hours painting the sceneries of Laos, gently carves woods, and creates traditional crafts. He especially devotes most of his time to the very fine art of gold thread embroidery of the royal Lao palace, with precise and calculated stitches and movements, giving life to collars, skirts, pillows, and religious objects.
Prince Somsanith is now known as an international embroidery artist with his contemporary creations rooted in the traditions of his youth. In the last ten years he has exhibited his works in France, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the USA.