I remain astounded by what is happening in Cambodia and tonight the credits go to Batia Sarem Gallery, Martin Phéline, and his guest artists Khvay Samnang and dancer Rady Nget.
Not enough can be stated about the courage, skill, and mastery of these artists.
Under the dark clouds and a slight breeze, we watched Mr. Nget dance and transform himself into nature’s beast by the use of one of Mr. Samnang’s masks, echoing the cultural tradition of animism that is under threat, hand in hand with the environment. ‘Where is my Land?’ was the question explored in the exhibition’s masks and videos and now it was felt personally under the Cambodian skies.
Khvay Samnang, is one of the most internationally recognized Cambodian artist and I had previously visited the gallery to experience the exhibit. The images were so powerful that they have danced in my dreams ever since.
“The first installation, Preah Kunlong consists of a video, photos, and masks of animals. It is dedicated to the Areng Valley located in the southwest of Cambodia, one of the wildest areas of the country, inhabited by an animist community, the Chong. The choreographer and dancer Rady Nget is photographed and filmed wearing masks, performing a dance in the middle of immaculate landscapes. The second piece is entitled Where is my land?, An installation of photos and a video featuring Rady Nget improvising a dance around the Mekong River, where Murderous landslides have occurred, consequences of the intensive exports of the sands of the river.” Batia Sarem Gallery