Thousands of Cambodians descended on the small village of Vihear Suor (Kandal Province) on October 4 to cheer on the annual water buffalo race that marks the end of the 15-day festival for the dead (Pchum Ben), the most important Cambodian religious event.
The race, that has very ancient roots, is organised for the entertainment of the spirits who have come to Earth during the Pchum Ben and is also be followed by wrestling and khmer boxe matches.
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.
A final procession, in which the ashes of the late Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, were accompanied by King Sihamoni and Queen Mother Monineath from the crematorium to the Royal Palace, concluded the 7 days of funeral ceremonies.
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On the 4th day of the funeral, the body of the late Cambodian King Sihanouk, is cremated in a sumptuous Buddhist ceremony held in the crematorium built nearby the Royal Palace of Phnom Penh, at the presence of numerous foreign heads of state.
Celebrations of the funerals of the late king Sihanouk continue in Phnom Penh, with a private ceremony held by the Royal Family at the crematorium site and two massive concentrations of Cambodian people gathered to pay their last respects.
[button align=”center” link=”http://www.demotix.com/news/1768237/funerals-late-cambodian-king-sihanouk-continue-phnom-penh” margin=”20″]You can also see the reportage on Demotix.com[/button]
Phnom Penh, 1st of february 2013, buddhist funeral rites for the former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk saw a golden coffin carrying his embalmed body paraded through the streets of Phnom Penh that were lined with thousands of mourners paying their last respects.
The king’s body will be cremated on Monday, 4th of february 2013.
[button align=”center” link=”http://www.demotix.com/news/1763641/cambodia-begins-funeral-rites-former-king-norodom-sihanouk” margin=”20″]You can also see the reportage on Demotix.com[/button]
This afternoon I was riding my motorbike when, nearby the Central Market, I bumped into a blaze.
A good amount of smoke were coming out from a Chinese bar/restaurant and from the first floor of the building. The road was blocked by a huge amount of Fire Fighters’ trucks (for the size of the blaze), at least 40-50 policemen and curious people.
The atmosphere was really unreal… a real chaos, nobody was really understanding what to do and how do it… so, I dragged out my Press Pass and I started to take pictures…
A behind the scene of the last 2 days of shooting of “3.50”, a Singapore-financed dramatic thriller about human trafficking in Cambodia co-direct by Chhay Bora — whose first feature film “Lost Loves” is Cambodia’s second-ever official entry to the Oscar’s for foreign language film this year.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the director said: “Young people from poor families in Cambodia are often recruited to work far from home. Some of them find good jobs and are able to support their families, but some of them fall into the hands of bad people and are forced into the sex industry. By making this film, we can educate our poor farmers that they need to be very careful; and we can try to help our country to not become a place for sex tourists.”
As he did with “Lost Loves”, a personal account of his wife’s family’s travails during the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia of the 1970s, Bora intends to screen the film in Phnom Penh’s two modern cinemas, before taking it on a road show to the country’s rural provinces.
Thank you very much to Bora and all the crew who allowed me to do these photos.
First used as spies by the CIA during the Vietnam War and later targeted for elimination by Pol Pot’s genocidal regime, Khmer Krom are still victims of numerous human rights violations today. The ones living in Vietnam are being acculturated by Hanoi´s intimidating policies, while others have been forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands in the Mekong Delta and pushed to Cambodia where they are not recognized as full citizens. With no place on either side of the border, the Khmer Krom have become the “nowhere people.”
This is their story.
I started this project in July 2012, when I spent a week as a tourist visiting some of the Khmer Krom communities and Pagodas in the Mekong Delta. At that point, my aim was just to discover and understand a bit better their ways of life, as well as to visit some of Vietnam’s most iconic sites.
As my first contact with the Khmer Krom communities, my encounter with the reality of their lives was only brief and did not leave me enough time to properly investigate the matter, especially how the restrictions applied by the Vietnamese Government affect the Khmer Krom’s life itineraries.
Therefore, I am planning to go back to the area with the support of several international organisations and NGOs..
It is, of course, an ongoing project.
[button align=”center” link=”http://www.fotovisura.com/user/thomascristofoletti/view/khmer-krom-the-nowhere-people” margin=”20″]See the full project proposal on FotoVisura.com[/button]