Savanhdary Vongpoothorn - CURRICULUM VITAE


Born in Laos in 1971, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn came to Australia in 1979. She completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Western Sydney and a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales (COFA). She now lives and works in Canberra, Australia.

Savanhdary has undertaken numerous residencies, both in Australia and overseas including in India, Japan, Laos, Scotland, Singapore, and Vietnam. In 2006 she was commissioned to create a major new work for Zones of Contact, the 15th Biennale of Sydney.

She was a finalist in the 2016 Sir John Sulman Prize and the 1998 Moet & Chandon Art Prize. Her work is included in important public collections including those of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA, Brisbane; Art Gallery of New South Wales,
Sydney; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Australian National University Collection, Canberra and Artbank, as well as notable private and corporate collections including
Macquarie Bank, Sydney; World Bank, New York; the Holmes à Court Collection, Perth; and the Allens Collection, Sydney.

Savanhdary’s work has always interwoven Lao cultural references with Australian and other cultural
influences: from Australian Aboriginal art to Scottish Tartans, to Indian miniatures, and now to Japanese Buddhism. Besides using motifs and symbols from Lao textiles, for example, she has applied a technique of perforation to some artworks in a direct reference to the act of weaving.

Spiritual references have also been important, especially the use of Lao words, texts and concepts from Theravada Buddhism, including Khathaa (Lao-Pali) protective incantations or spells. In her most recent works, she has woven and broken the Lao-Pali Sutra in such a way that the resulting imagery recalls arabesques.

For Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, such cultural references do not constitute a fixed tradition or an objectified sense of “culture”. Rather, they stem from her experience of growing up living and breathing in Lao cultural, familial, and religious worlds, both in Laos and Australia.


1971 Born in Laos
1979 Arrived Australia
1990-92 B.A. Visual Arts. UWS Nepean, Sydney
1993 M.A. Visual Arts. UNSW College of Fine Arts, Sydney

1990-1992 Bachelor of Arts, Visual Arts, University of Western Sydney 
1993 Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts, University of NSW Collage of Fine Arts
2023-2023 Artist Reference Group, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 


2023 Aflame, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney
2021 Grounded and Glowing, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney
2020 Broken Sutra, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
S.E.A Focus, A Spotlight on Southeast Asia, Gillman Barracks, Singpapore 
2017 Pali Sound, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne 
2016 Ramayana on the Mekong, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney
2014 All is Burning, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney
2013 The Beautiful as Force, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney
2011 Stone down a Well, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2008 Re-enchantment, Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney
2005 Incantation, Martin Browne Fine Art at The Yellow House, Sydney
2004 A Certain Distance, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2003 Martin Browne Fine Art at The Yellow House, Sydney
2002 bindi dot tartan zen, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2000 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2000 King Street Gallery on Burton, Sydney
1998 King Street Gallery, Sydney
1998 Holy Threads – Lao Tradition and Inspiration, Campbelltown City Art Gallery, Sydney (exhibited with Lao textiles from 19th & 20th century)
1997 Tradition and Interpretation, King Street Gallery, Sydney
1996 King Street Gallery on Burton, Sydney
1995 King Street Gallery on Burton, Sydney


2023 Art SG, Marina Bay Sand Convention Centre and 39+ Art Space, Singapore
2023 The Order of Things, Appetite, Singapore
2022 Landscape: Reinvention, 39+ Art Space, Singapore
2021 Space YZ, Campbelltown Arts Centre, NSW
2020 Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to now, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
2019 Shaping Geographies: Art / Women / Southeast Asia, Gajah Gallery, Singapore 
2019 Discrete Encoding, Fost Gallery, Singapore
2019 The Humanity of Small things (online exhibition), Gajah Gallery, Singapore
2019 Currents: Hiroshima House (inside Wat Ounalom), Phnom Penh, Cambodia 
2019 Re/production: Australian Art from the 1980s and 1990s, 16 Albermarle Project Space, Sydney
2018 Ties of History: Art in Southeast Asia (Curator Patrick Flores), Metropolitan Museum of Manila, University of the Phillippines Vargas Museum and Yuchengco Museum, Manila, Philippines 
2018 Infinite Conversation, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
2017 Abstraction: Celebrating Australian Women Abstract Artists, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and touring
2017 Artist Profile: Australiasian Painters 2007-2017, Orange Regional Gallery, NSW
2016 Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
2015 James and Jacqui Erskine Collection, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University
2015 Making Connections: Southeast Asian Art @ ANU, School of Art Gallery, Australian National University
2013 Crossing Paths III, RAFT artspace, Alice Springs
2013 The Imperceptible something…, Caboolture Regional Art Gallery, Morten Bay
2013 Vibrant Matter, Tarra Warra Museum of Art, Healesville 
2012 Korea International Art Fair, Niagara Galleries, COEX, Seoul, Korea
2012 Melbourne Art Fair, Niagara Galleries, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
2011 Korea International Art Fair, Niagara Galleries, COEX, Seoul, Korea
2011 Artists Artists, Benalla Art Gallery, Victoria
2010 Ephemeral but Eternal Words: Traces of Asia, ANU School of Art Gallery, Canberra
2007 The Story of Australian Printmaking, National Gallery of Australia
2007 Smile of the Buddha, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National Gallery, Canberra
2006 Zones of Contact, Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
2006 The Tallis Foundation 2006 National Works on Paper, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery,         Victoria
2006 Crossing Paths II, Martin Browne Fine Art at the Yellow House, Sydney        
2005 Echoes of Home: Memory and Mobility in Recent Astral-Asian Art, Museum of Brisbane, Queensland (touring interstate galleries)
2005 This and Other Worlds: Contemporary Australian Drawing, National Gallery of Victoria, Victoria
2003 Crossing paths (with Ildiko Kovacs and Roy Jackson), Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney
2003 Four, The Holmes à Court Gallery, Western Australia
2003 Isle of Refuge, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney (touring interstate galleries)
2003 NGA Lift project 2, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
2003 FUSION exhibition 4#, “Abstractions,” Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University,Canberra
2002 Indecorous Abstractions: Contemporary Women Painters, Light Square Gallery, Adelaide
2001 Royal Overseas League Scholars exhibition, ROSL House gallery, London, UK
2000 Uncommon Worlds: Aspects of Contemporary Australian Art, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
2000 SCEGGS Redlands Westpac art prize 2000 exhibition, Mosman Art gallery, Sydney
2000 The Return of Beauty, The Jam Factory, Adelaide (touring Object Galleries, Sydney)
2000 Focus #6, “Gang of 4,” (with Symrin Gill, Lindy Lee and Phaptawan Suwannakudt), Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne
1999 Gang of 4, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
1999 Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Project Centre for Contemporary Art, Wollongong (touring Hazelhurst Art gallery, Sydney, Penrith Regional Art Gallery and Lewers Bequest, Sydney, Gallery 4A, Sydney, Hastings Art gallery, Port Macquarie, NSW)
1999 The Rose Crossing, Brisbane City Art Gallery, Queensland (touring Hong Kong Arts Centre, Singapore Art Museum, S.H Ervin Gallery, Sydney, Campbelltown City Art Gallery, Sydney)
1999 Contemporary, University of Technology Gallery, Sydney
1999 Cinderella’s Gems – Art and the Intellectual Mission (touring regional galleries in NSW and Queensland).
1999 Bright and Shining, Gallery 4A, Sydney
1998 Moët et Chandon, Art Gallery of NSW (touring state galleries in Australia)
1998 Transit,  Art Gallery of New South Wales
1998  Ways of Being, Ivan Dougherty Gallery UNSW, (touring regional galleries NSW and Queensland)
1997 Gallery 4A, Sydney
1997 Bronze, Utopia. Art. Sydney, Gallery
1995-96 Gallery Artists, King Street Gallery on Burton, Sydney
1995-96 Still Life, Performance Space, Sydney
1995-96 Heirloom, Monash University Gallery, Part of “Next Wave” Festival, Melbourne
1995-96 Spirit and Place – Art in Australia 1861-1996, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney
1994 Fresh Art II, S. H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
1994 New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship, UNSW College of Fine Art Gallery, Sydney
1994 Recognizing the Republic, Michael Nagy Fine Arts Gallery
1994 Circle, Line and Square: Aspects of Geometry, Campbelltown City Art Gallery, Sydney (touring Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Albury Regional Art Gallery and New England Regional Art Gallery)
1993 Mary Alice Evatt Art Award, Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery, Sydney
1993 New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship, UNSW College of Fine Art Gallery, Sydney
1993 Periodic Tables, The Performance Space, Sydney
1992 Untitled 92, The Performance Space, Sydney
1992 Connection, Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest, NSW


2021 Australia Council for the Arts- Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups ACT – Arts Activities 
2019 Australia Council for the Arts – Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups 
2016 Sir John Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of NSW‘Sydney (finalist) 
2015 Australia Council for the Arts – Professional Development
2013 Australia India Institute Artists’ retreat, Jaipur, India
2012 NAVA Janet Holmes a Court Artist’s Grant
2011 NAVA Janet Holmes a Court Artist’s Grant
2005 Artist in Residence, Print Media Workshop, Canberra School of Art, ANU
2004 Australia Council Grant, New Work
2003 Artist in Residence, Painting Workshop, Canberra School of Art, ANU
2001 Australia Council Grant- Tokyo studio residency
2000 Royal Over-Seas League travel scholarship
2000 Sceggs Redlands Westpac Art Prize 2000
1997 Australia Council Grant – New Work
1996 Fisher’s Ghost Art Award (Youth Encouragement Award)
1995 33rd Fisher’s Ghost Art Award (Open Local and Youth Encouragement Award)
1994 32nd Fisher’s Ghost Art Award (Youth Encouragement Award)
1993 Mary Alice Evatt Art Award
1993 Art Space Studio, Ministry for the Arts


Allen, Allen and Hemsley, Sydney
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Artbank, Sydney
Benalla Art Gallery, Victoria 
Caboolture Regional Art Gallery, QLD
Chau Chak Wing Museum, Camperdown, NSW
Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
Lady Cruthers Collection, WA
Macquarie Bank, Sydney
Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Monash University, Melbourne
National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Singapore
National Gallery of Victoria
Newcastle Art Gallery
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
SCEGGS Redlands, Sydney
The Australian Club
University of Melbourne
University of Western Sydney
University of Wollongong 
Work Bank, New York
Private collections Australian and overseas


2022 Spinninf the Fire Sutra I, Commissioned by Campbelltown City Council, funded by NSW Government CBD Revitalisation fund
The 15th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney
Braided Channels, commissioned by Macquarie Bank, Sydney
1997 Rice Line, commissioned by Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery, NSW 


Gina Fairley, Exhibition Review, Artshub, 28 September, 2023
Ian Tee, Abstraction as cultural practice, Art and Market, 25 May 2022
Namila Benson, The long journey to Slow Art, The Art Show, ABC, Broadcast: Wed 3 Feb 2021
John McDonald, Savanhdary’s experimental art is suspened between two worlds, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 February, 2020
Jenna Price, Gallery with a vision of Equality, The Sydney Morning Herald (Spectrum), November 14, 2020
Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Broken Sutra, catalogue Niagara Galleries, 2020
Chaitanya Sambrani, All That Arises (Artist Monograph) Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, 2019 
John McDonald, Two worlds illuminated, The Sydney Morning Herald (Spectrum), September 21-22, 2019
Sasha Grishin, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn’s All That Arises at ANU Drill Hall Gallery is Serene, the Canberra Times, 29 August 2019
Diana d’Arenberg, S.E.A Focus and Singapore Art Week 2019, Ocula (online)
Michelle Anne P. Soliman, ASEAN aritsts come together in a 3-part show, Business Worls, 15 August 2018
Connecting the ties of history, Manila Standard, 19 July 2018
Kon Gouritios & Lucy Stranger, Artist Profile, Australasian Painter 2007-2017, exhibition catalogue, Orange Regional Gallery, New South Wales, 2017
Robert Nelson, Abstraction review: A glorious trip through op art and minimalist mind games, The Age, 15 March 2017
Blue Chip XIX: The Collector’s Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2017
Abstraction: Celebrating women abstract artists, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2017
Gouritos, Kon Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Artist Profile, no 37, 2016, pp.58-67
Clark, Christine TAASA review 2016, vol 24 issue 4
Sambrani, Chaitanya, Piercing Time: Savanhdary Vongpoothorn’s Stone Down the Well catalogue Niagara Galleries, Melbourne 2011
Sambrani, Chaitanya, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn: Words across Worlds, Ephemeral but Eternal Words: Traces of Asia Catalogue, ANU School of Art Gallery, 2010 pp 16-22
Sanders, Anne, Re-enchantment, catalogue, Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney 2008
McCormick, Alice; Rhodes, Sarah, The Artist’s Lunch, Murdoch Books, 2008 pp. 114-125
Lloyd, R. Ian, (Photography) and John McDonald (Text), STUDIO- Australian Painters on the Nature of Creativity, R. Ian Lloyd Productions, 2007 pp. 228-231
Keens, Leeta, Found in Translation, Belle, creative spaces, 2006 Aug/Sep pp. 95-96
CJW- L Wee, After theory- and into the zones of contact?, Zones of Contact 2006 Biennale of Sydney, A Critical Reader, ed. Natasha Bullock, Reuben Keehan, Artspace Visual Art Center, 2006 pp. 37-45
McDonald, John, Revelations in the Dark, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 24-25, 2006 pp. 16-17
Ewington, Julie, Biennale of Sydney catalogue essay, 2006, pp. 266-267
Colman, Elizabeth, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn Artist, The Weekend Australian, Profile The FACE,
February 11-12, 2006
Rice, Deborah, Asian influences, Australian art. Feature on Laotian Australian artist, Savanhdary VongpoothornAsia Pacific Focus, ABC TV, First Broadcast August 6, 2005
McDonald, John, Holey Rituals, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 11-12, 2005
Creagh, Sunanda, Warm Recollection of Laos Life, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 31, 2005
Ravi, Srilata (En)chanting Canvases – Incantation, catalogue essay, Martin Browne Fine Art At The Yellow House, Sydney, 2005
Vongpoothorn, Savanhdary with Carruthers, Ashley Artist statement, Incantation, catalogue, Martin Browne Fine Art At The Yellow House, Sydney 2005
Vongpoothorn, Savanhdary with Carruthers, Ashley Artist Statement, Echoes of Home, catalogue, Museum of Brisbane, Queensland, 2005
Peterson, Tanya, Liquid Light, Art and Australia, vol. 40, no. 3, 2003, pp. 426-435
Barragan, Paco, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn in El Arte Que Viene [The Art to Come], Madrid: Subastas siglo XXI, 2002.
Carruthers, Ashley, The Art of Savanhdary Vongpoothorn as Metissage “bindi dot tartan zen” catalogue essay, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne, 2002
Ewington, Julie, University of Technology Art Collection catalogue, Sydney, 2002
Osborne, Margot, Indecorous Abstractions, catalogue, Light Square Gallery, Adelaide, 2002
ROSL Arts, Scholars Exhibition Catalogue 2001
Chiu, Melissa, Shifting Frames of Reference: Asian Australian Women Artists, Text and Subtext: Contemporary Art Asian Women, Singapore: LaSalle-SIA, 2000
Carruthers, Ashley, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Project – Centre for Contemporary Arts, Wollongong Object, 2/2000
Mar, Phillip, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, review, ART AsiaPacific, Issue 28, 2000, pp. 93-94
Hart, Deborah, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Uncommon World: Aspects of Contemporary Australian Art catalogue, 2000, p.17
Fink, Hannah, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, in Laura Murray Cree and Neville Drury (eds) Australian Painting Now, Craftsman House, 2000
Young Arts – The new generation of Australian prodigies, The Weekend Australian Review, Jan 1-2, 2000
Hynes, Victoria, Circle of Friends, the galleries, Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 7 1999
Hynes, Victoria, The Rose Crossing at Brisbane City Gallery, Exhibition Reviews, Australia Asian Art News Nov/Dec, 1999, pp. 93-94
Dysart, Dinah, Asian Contemporary Art in Sydney, Asian Art Features, Jan, 1999, p.18
Coombs, Nicola, The Rose Crossing-Asian Artnotes, Art Monthly, Australia, Dec 1999 p. 36
Barney, Simon, A Hybrid in Bloom, The Bulletin, Sep. 7, 1999 p. 103
Australia’s 50 Most Collectable Artists, Australian Art Collector, Issue 7, January – March, 1999, p.58
Cinderella’s Gems – Art and the Intellectual Mission, catalogue [preface by Tony Geddes, essay by Belinda Allen], 1999
Fink, Hannah, Rhythmic Air – The Fine Art of Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Art Asia Pacific, September 1999
James, Bruce, City File, Spectrum Features, Sydney Morning Herald, March 6, 1999, p.2
Smee, Sebastian, Zen and the Art Of, The Galleries, Sydney Morning Herald, Mar 2, 1999
The Rose Crossing, catalogue [essays by John Clark and William Wright]
Ways of Being, catalogue, Ivan Dougherty (touring exhibition), [introduction by Jennifer Hardy, essay by Amanda Weate], 1999
Auty, Giles, Southern Comfort, Arts, The Weekend Australian, Oct.17-18, 1999 p. 23
Smee, Sebastian, Hum from Work, Metro, Sydney Morning Herald, November 1999
Genocchio, Benjamin, A Relief from Relentless Avant-Gardism, The Australian, Oct.16, 1999, p.17
Long, Nina, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Khao Lao Paper, September, 1999, pp.10-11
Holy Threads – Lao Tradition and Inspiration, catalogue-Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery (introduction by Sioux Garside, essay by Benjamin Genocchio), 1998
Reproduced- Rain, from Moet et Chandon, Metro, Sydney Morning Herald, Aug.14, p.9
Wardell, Michael, Art in The Age of Lost Innocence, Moet et Chandon touring, ex cat, 1998
Johnson, Anna, Give A Little, Get A Lot, Australian Art Collector, Issue 5, July-Sept, 1998 p. 100
Genocchio, Benjamin, The Skin of Dreams, Object, Issue No.2, 1998, pp. 48-49
Clabburn, Anna, Toast of the under 35s, The Age, June, 1998
Smee, Sebastian, In Bead with Kate Fischer, Metro, Sydney Morning Herald, May, 1997
Genocchio, Benjamin, Sensuous beads and meditation on a pin, Business Review Weekly, April 28, 1997, p.140
James, Bruce, Galleries, Sydney Morning Herald, April, 1997
Genocchio, Benjamin, Elizabeth Pulie and Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Eyeline, Spring, 1997 p. 34
James, Bruce, Galleries, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 31, 1997, p. 14
Smee, Sebastian, King on King, Metro, Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 15, 1996, p. 23
King, Natalie, Heirloom, catalogue – Monash University Gallery – Next Wave Festival Visual Arts Program,
May25 – June29, 1997, pgs.6, 10-13,16
Rooney, Robert, Heirloom, Nostalgic, The Australian, Jun 7, 1997, p.16
Zimmer, Jenny, One Place, one time, many spirits, The Age, Jan. 15, 1997
Waterlow, Nick, Spirit and Place – Art in Australia 1861 – 1996, Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996
Fenner, Felicity, Through the Eurocentric Barricades, Sydney Morning Herald, April 21, 1995, p. 18
Fenner, Felicity, An Antidote to Creeping Craft, Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 23, 1994
Garside, Sioux (introduction) & Zimmer, Jenny (critical essay): Circle, Line and Square, Aspects of geometry,
Campbelltown City Art Gallery, Sept. 16- Oct 21, 1994
Fenner, Felicity, NSW Travelling Arts Scholarship, Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 5, 1994
Mary Alice Evatt Art Award, catalogue, Campbelltown Bicentennial City Art Gallery, 1993
Fenner, Felicity, NESB Label Connections, Sydney Morning Herald, Oct 24, 1992, p. 24
Watson, Bronwyn, Decorative Ceiling Gazing Imposes No Lid on Insight, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 31, 1992 p. 10

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