Humanitarian Photographer & Videographer based in Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
Once upon a time in Cambodia
LAST UPDATE: 23/03/2013
I started this project in June 2012, with the idea of showing the reconstruction of Cambodian cultural life through research and artistic expression of a generation of young artists, whose personal itineraries break predicable destinies, giving voice and form to the new Cambodian identity. During the Khmer Rouge (1975-1979), Cambodia suffered a cultural genocide that ravaged the intellectual and artistic life of the country, installing a gap of lack of identity over an abyss of 2 millions of deaths. The reportage parts from the emotional and social consequences of this loss of identity, not yet restored, and shows the recent resurgence of artistic creativity as a searching mechanism of social coordinates and an opportunity to repair, build citizenship – trying in some case to use art as a way to transmit also political and social messages.
The capital of the kingdom come together languages and trends from different sources. The peculiarity of this location lies in the profile of their creators, many of whom have dual citizenship or have returned to Cambodia for different reasons after a stay in other countries (many of them refugees). An artistic movement with a distinctly urban style, collect the state of search, the intention of renewal and the appropriation of languages that allow direct communication with the city and its inhabitants, such as graffiti, hip hop, metal, oral poetry, or cinema, without waive the Cambodian artistic tradition.
Pen Robit – Visual Artist
Oeur Sokuntevy – visual artist
Chhay Bora – movie director
Sliten6ix – metal band
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The last province free from political control of the Khmer Rouge is now one of the local contexts where root some of the visions and creative projects more interesting and genuine in the country. This forced isolation has recently helped the emergence of an artistic movement, genuine and devoid of foreign influence. A key role in the development of the artistic movement in Battambang is the “Phare Ponleu Selpak”school, a Cambodian association born in “Site 2” (one of the refugee camp at the Thai border during the ’80) that uses arts to answer children psycho social needs.
Phok Sopheap – visual artist
Long Kosal – visual artist
Theanly Chov – visual artist
Ot Veasna – visual artist
Phare Ponleu Selpak’s school of circus and art.
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The main center of tourism in the country contains the beauty of Angkor and the roots of Khmer pride to their traditions and cultural past. Its recent art scene incorporate the revision of cultural codes, languages and tools from a local perspective interconnected with other foreign artistic movements and cultural trends. The result is the proliferation of studios and art galleries (1961, Art Deli, Poetry, Hotel de La Paix) that allow the visibility and international diffusion (with the work of Loven Ramos as an entrepenoeur) of the works of many Cambodian artists (as Seckon Leang, Savann Oun and many more).
Loven Ramos – Artist and entrepreneur
Savann Oun – visual artist
[divider style=”top” ] I hope to have the chance to work more on this project in the next few months, so stay tuned! Thank you very much to all the artists who helped me in this project.