132 days: Somsak Vongkhanty

Today my journey took me to the gleaming That Luang Stupa, a beacon of Laotian culture and spirituality. As I set up my easel to capture its golden hues, I met Somsak Vongkhanty, a local craftsman meticulously restoring some of the finer details on the stupa's facade. With his weathered hands and calm demeanor, Somsak shared stories about the stupa's centuries-old significance and his family's generations-long commitment to preserving Laos' heritage. His pride in his work and the spiritual connection he felt to the stupa added a profound layer of meaning to my sketches. Inspired by his devotion, I decided to focus my artwork not only on the stupa itself, but also on capturing the essence of Somsak's craftsmanship. His stories reflected the quiet strength of the Lao people and their resilience in maintaining cultural traditions through the ages. As the day waned and shadows lengthened over the golden stupa, I packed up my gear, feeling enriched and humbled by the encounter. Today wasn't just about capturing a landmark; it was about understanding the soul of Vientiane through its people.

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