2 August 2024

Nanyang academy of fine arts

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2 August 2024, 10:15 - 10:30

Sticky Rice Basket

Khao Niew Theatre

The "Sticky rice basket" is a story about sticky rice living in a sticky rice basket which decided that he no longer wants to live in his basket. He emerged out of his vessel and transformed into a rice puppet; ready to explore the world outside his basket. During their adventures outside, both the sticky rice and the rice basket encounters many adversities and obstacles, only to be reunited again eventually.

This story is an exploration of identity, as symbolized by the iconic Laotian dish of sticky rice and its bamboo-woven rice basket. The heart and soul of Laotian cuisine; Khao Niew or sticky rice and the use of it basket is an integral part of the country’s identity, community, and culture which has been cultivated over centuries and generations. Despite a sweeping of modernity through the nation, khao niew remains a symbol of resilience; cherished as part of any casual meal or religious ceremonies.

At times of adversities, conflict, and uncertainties, it is often thoughts of home that keeps us pushing through. In the case of Laos, comfort amidst conflict is the thought of gathering with loved ones around a communal Tib Khao (bamboo rice basket) of sticky rice - sharing both sustenance and stories – of adventures, conflict, and hope.

Khao Niew puppet theatre group, established in Vientiane in 2008, is directed by Lattanakone Insisiengmay. It consists of Lao artists coming mostly from National Circus of Vientiane and Kabong Lao Puppet Theatre, who specialise in puppet, shadow and mime theatre. The group serves its audience, adults as well as young audience, a home-grown mix of creative, poetic and social messages through a contemporary and ingenious use of tools that locals are familiar with. Khao Niew has collaborated with non profit association in Laos and internal to create shows, educational projects and events to promote skills and appreciation of traditional art in Laos PDR.