British Woman Creates New Stamp For Lao Post

Source: Vientiane Times

The art of a British woman based in Vientiane has been used as the basis for a new Lao stamp which is the first to be presented to the Queen of England.

British Artist Jan Wollen moved to the capital in December 2014 and soon became involved in the local art community. WIG LAOS, a well known organisation in Vientiane held a photo competition for their annual calendar and Jan decided to pick up her bush and enter the competition with the painting “Then and Now.”

The picture shows two girls from Laos, one from the past and one from the present. One girl from a village collects wood while the other is a modern, educated girl of today attending school. Both are looking towards the Buddha.

British Woman Creates New Stamp For Lao Post
The stamp promoting women’s progress in Laos.

A panel of judges selected the picture for the cover of the WIG LAOS calendar and the month of June which includes International Children’s Day. One of the judges, Tay Pikoune, loved the painting so much she purchased it.

Tay then had the vision to create a Lao postage stamp from the artwork and suggested it should commemorate the 26 years of WIG in Laos.

Subsequently, Director General of Entreprise des Postes Lao (EPL) Postal Operations Division, Mr Bounchana Senamounty loved the painting and wanted to make a stamp. After extensive work the Director General of EPL Mr Phouvong Khamfong agreed and a signing ceremony was held on 12 January 2016 and the first Lao postal stamp by a British artist became a reality.

The stamp was issued in late May and on June 3 EPL held a ceremony celebrating their new headquarters, across from Talat Sao, and the issuing of the stamp. The British Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Hugh Evans graciously attended the event.

In his speech the Ambassador commented on the significance of a Lao postal stamp by a British artist and the close relations between the two nations. Ambassador Evans complimented Mr Phouvong for the beautiful new headquarters and the Director General acknowledged the first stamp issued in 2016.

The artist was kept busy at the event for over two hours signing stamps mainly for the EPL staff.

With the full cooperation of the British Embassy to the Lao PDR, Jan Wollen sent a letter to the Director General Mr Phouvong Khamfong requesting him to celebrate Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday on 8 June 2016 in the residence garden of the Embassy, and to present stamps to the Embassy and to Her Majesty.

As the stamp was by a British artist the Queen accepted the gift for her Royal Stamp Collection in Buckingham Palace and permission was granted for the British Embassy in the Lao PDR to accept the gift on her behalf.

Formerly the Women’s International Group, WIG is a voluntary non-profit group supporting numerous projects that benefit Lao society. These include assisting the government with school and hospital improvement projects.