MASTERS AT WORK
Introducing Cambodia's most renowned contemporary artists
CONTEMPORARY ART IS FLOURISHING IN CAMBODIA, AND WHETHER YOU’RE A POTENTIAL BUYER OR A FASCINATED NEWCOMER, THESE ARTISTS ARE A CRITICAL INTRODUCTION TO THE SCENE
A former student at Cambodia's Royal University of Fine Arts, Seckon uses his artwork to explore Khmer history, culture, death and environmental issues. His work has been displayed extensively in Southeast Asia, as well as at venues in the US and Europe. Seckon is famous for an extensive use of mixed media and collage techniques, juxtaposing traditional symbols and motifs against contemporary figures and events. His work “Bang Skol” epitomises these techniques, reflecting his own struggle to come to terms with the country's turbulent past and encroaching modernity.
Battambang-born Oeur's work has drawn much interest, largely due to her immense skill with a paintbrush, but also thanks to her status as arguably Cambodia's most prominent female contemporary artist.
Her work is stylistically surreal and entails an impassioned exploration of female sexuality and empowerment. Her 2010 series Love to Death was particularly bold in its representation of sexual experience – one piece displayed a female figure mounting her lover while holding a raised machete, ready to strike. Her work shines a light on gender issues in the country and has seen her hailed as part of a vanguard helping to shift attitudes toward women.
Perhaps Cambodia's most internationally renowned contemporary artist, Pich was born in 1971 and moved with his family to the US in 1984, where he received an MFA at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Returning to Cambodia in 2002, he set to work creating sculptures from indigenous materials such as bamboo, rattan and earth pigments. His experience of the Khmer Rouge years has a profound influence on his work, shaping his chosen themes of time, memory and the body. His sculptures have been displayed at some of the world's most respected galleries, including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Sothy was born in Kandal province in 1969, making him old enough to have truly experienced the horrors inflicted by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. He honed his skills as a student at the Royal University of
Fine Arts in the 1990s, and today his works fuse Khmer traditionalism with European painting. Conflicting themes of development, construction, hardship and inequality resonate in his paintings, and his work has been exhibited in Southeast Asia, Paris and the US. So respected is the artist that he now holds a position within the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.