During the first half of twentieth century major portion of Southeast Asia were colonized. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos used to house colonies of the French, British had their colonies in Malaysia and Myanmar (old name Burma), and Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch and the Philippines by the people of the United States; only Thailand remained independent. The grip of the colonizing power got relaxed during the period of World War II and the Japanese started promoting embryonic movements for independence in order to push freedom in this region. However, the activities of the Japanese in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia established the motive of Japan’s Propaganda to be autocratic and the countries of Southeast Asia were not at all prepared to recommence the Colonialist suppression after the end of World War II. All the countries of Southeast Asia got its independence during the period of 1945 to 1957. But before 20th century, the Southeast Asia used to have a number of medium size prominent cities and also densely established rice growing districts, but major portion of the Southeast Asia remained thinly developed compared to the south and east part of Asia. This reflects characteristics of peripheral states which are relatively weak and huge frontiers inhabited by shifting cultivators (Bremen, 1990).
Democracy or constitutional realm began in most of the countries of Southeast Asia post independence. But the battle between the communist and anticommunist parties cursed the region between the years 1960 till 1970s. Vietnam became communist country after the Vietnam War and Lao also became a communist nation. In the later part of 70s, Cambodia suffered due to the communism massacre under Khmer Rouge. Under the influence of its first president, Sukarno (who was between 1901 till 1970) Indonesia has a strong communist realm (Bremen, 1990).
During the communist period, the development of art was very slow, while in Myanmar during the oppressive military rule, most of the artists practiced Socialist in Vietnam and Laos during communism. After 1980s, artists were given more freedom but neither of the nation encouraged sense of modernisation in arts. After the end of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, crucial art and intellectual life came to an end while under him there was an effervescent cultural life. In Myanmar, still there is very limited art prospect.
Among the indigenous people of Southeast Asia, scope for missionary activities increased and by mid of the 20th Century, majority of groups were transformed to Christianity. This transformation had a devastating influence on the local tradition of sculpture as several people stopped their creation and in certain instances destroyed images created by their ancestors which when contradicted with the newly adopted beliefs of Christianity (Walters 2008). But the tradition related textile continued to flourish although the weavers started favouring the use of artificial dyes. In the beginning of the 1970s, the increasing interest in art and culture of the indigenous people of Western countries resulted in many dealers and collectors to acquire different art forms in textiles sculptures from Southeast Asian countries and become part of their personal collection or entering the museum of the western countries.