Ock Pop Tok
Community Mural in Luang Prabang, Laos
Working with Ock Pop Tok, we created this community art mural to show the different facets of the Ock Pop Tok experience. These cross over a diverse range of experiences; weaving practices to village life, to teaching and learning, history and nature, and just relaxing and enjoying the nice food in the restaurant.
Creating this community art mural involved a lot of consultation with the people across the organisation, from the owners to the master weavers. There was a lot of watching, seeing their process and the amount of care they put into their work. And, of course, making friends as everyone there was so welcoming!
What is Ock Pop Tok?
Meaning “East Meets West” in Lao, Ock Pop Tok was founded on principles of fair trade and sustainable business practices, and was pioneering social business and ethical fashion. In order for hand loomed textiles to survive and thrive as a craft, they had to create economic value for the textiles. Weaving, which is done primarily by village women, is often considered domestic work that is not representative of progress or economic advancement. By operating on fair trade principles – specifically by providing competitive wages, opportunities for continued learning and professional development – OPT gave village weavers, most of whom are women, the ability to earn a sustainable livelihood for their families and communities. And, by opening a venue where visitors could see and practice the craft, the two were able to educate visitors about the cultural and the artistic value of the textiles.
The initial stages of this project involved a lot of back and forth exchange, making loads of drawings and sketches. Even during the painting of the mural, I would often go and watch the master weavers at work, sketching different details to add into the painting, enjoying their chatter as they worked.
Below are some of the drawings I made for and during the process of this artwork.
Want to know more about Ock Pop Tok?
You can check out their website here.