Borey Chankiri art exhibition features talented local group

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Khvay Samnang’s Preah Kunlong/The Way of Spirit - Peacock made from recycled bronze and steel. SUPPLIED

The rattan-like woven vine quality of Kvay Samnang’s deer, peacock and cow – now on display at Borey Chankiri by Urbanland – make the sculptures seem organic but the copper metal they are cast from gives them a definite permanence and presence in the room that impresses.

Samnang joins 11 other well-known Cambodian artists in showcasing their work at leading real estate developer Urbanland’s The Space In Between exhibition, which begins on June 12 at its sales offices in Borey Chankiri off of National Road 2.

“We are delighted to present the The Space In Between group exhibition by 11 Cambodian artists – Chan Dany, Ket Monnyreak, Khvay Samnang, Lim Sokchanlina, Prak Dalin, Hean Rangsey, Nataly Lee, Roeun Sokhom, Pen Robit, Thang Sothea and Lyno Vuth,” said the organisers in a statement.

“The featured artworks are paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations. Each artist presents individual ideas, ways of living, seeing and thinking,” it said.

Khvay Samnang was born in Svay Rieng province in Southeast Cambodia and he was inspired by the natural surroundings where he grew up. His says his art focuses on the humanitarian and ecological impacts of colonialism and urbanisation.

“This exhibition has artwork from several different mediums including sculptures, photographs and especially art related to architecture. Moreover, the gallery for the exhibition is the sales floor for luxury houses for Cambodians,” says Samnang.

He says holding the The Space In Between exhibition around the buildings and houses in Borey Chankiri is a new format for contemporary art in Cambodia.

“I have my art – a peacock, a deer and a cow made of copper – displayed in the Borey garden. I also have three photographs from a series of photos called PoPil in collaboration with two other artists, Sok Sovanndin and Mut Pharan,” Samnang tells The Post.

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Khvay Samnang’s PoPil, digital C-Print, 80 x 120 cm. SUPPLIED

The Borey Chankiri exhibition is a place where people can witness the combination of art, the environment and buildings combine to facilitate a modern lifestyle, according to the organisers.

“The purpose of this exhibit is to grant visitors the opportunity to experience an improved, aspirational lifestyle filled with modern architecture, nature and art,” says Odom Rithy from the Urbanland marketing team

“You will have a rare opportunity to meet and network with these artists all in one spot and talk with them about how they use art to talk about the Cambodian society they aspire to live in and the causes they want to promote,” he says.

Battambang-born artist Nataly Lee, who holds a Liberal Arts degree from the University of New England and a Bachelor of Arts from Griffith University, has photos in the exhibition that feature a bird’s eye view of an island off of the coast of Australia.

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Battambang-born artist Nataly Lee’s photographs feature a bird’s eye view of an island in Australia. SUPPLIED

“This series was taken at Kangaroo Island, Australia before the wildfires ripped through a third of the island in 2019 destroying everything in their path,” says Nataly, a designer and photographer.

“For me, these images speak of time and space and the fragility – yet also the resilience – of nature. I’m thrilled to be part of this exhibition alongside artists I admire,” she says.

She says she believes that beauty is everywhere and, though sometimes hidden, with the right combination of perspective, composition, compassion and sensitivity it can always be found.

Through her photographs Nataly hopes to inspire a deeper connection and appreciation for the things around us, so that people are able to live richer and more meaningful lives.

“This exhibition is unique in the sense that the work isn’t being showcased in a traditional gallery, rather it will be viewed in the context of a neighbourhood and homes, which I believe is where art comes alive,” she says.

Another young artist, Hean Rangsey from Kratie province – who was also formerly a photographer at The Post for several years – has three photographs in the exhibition hanging at the Borey Chankiri Sales Gallery.

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Razed to the Ground, Leaving Just a Name by Hean Rangsey. SUPPLIED

Rangsey is interested in studying and observing humanity, the environment, nature and society.

“I am very glad to take part in this exhibition because it is just the second time for me to be able to showcase my work. The series is called Razed to the Ground, Leaving Just a Name. It’s my honour to have my arts exhibited with more experienced artists that I consider mentors,” says Rangsey.

He says that the mountains of Cambodia he’s photographed have been written about in poems, articles and songs describing their size, height, strength and beauty and the history and names of the mountains were compiled by our Khmer ancestors as tales handed down from one generation to another.

“As a kid, I used to read and fantasize about seeing those scenes from the stories fresh in my eyes and they stuck in my head. As I travelled through the highland provinces, I came across those views but for some of the mountains along the road, I saw that they had been quietly pierced, excavated, dug up and destroyed, at least in part,” Rangsey says.

The other artists featured in the The Space In Between exhibition include:

Vuth Lyno. A well-known artist in Phnom Penh who holds advanced degrees in Art History from New York University in the US and in International Development from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

Thang Sothea began his career as an architect before venturing into art. Sothea’s sculptures and installations are made using materials and processes intentionally associated with a sense of freedom to explore architecture and art, he says.

Roeun Sokhom is a leading figure in Battambang’s dynamic art community. He mostly paints using watercolours and acrylics and he does live painting performances and installations. He’s also featured old buildings as subjects of oil paintings.

Pen Robit, from Phare Ponleu Selpak, says he attempts to represent Cambodia’s past, present and future socio-political fabric. He says he draws influences from Cambodian cultural iconography as well as ongoing societal discourse.

Lim Sokchanlina works with documentary, conceptual and experimental photography, video and installation to examine social, political, geopolitical and cultural changes in Cambodia. Wrapped Future II is the outdoor installation Lina has built for the exhibition.

Ket Monnyreak, a designer and illustrator based in Phnom Penh, has works that predominantly feature crispy lines, solid shapes and vibrant colours along with dream-like composition. Phnom Penh’s day-to-day activities, simple architecture and intricate composition are his main inspirations and specialities.

Chan Dany is known for reinterpreting ancient Khmer cultural forms and practices and employs knowledge of codified forms and techniques ranging from painting to sewing and collage-making with novel materials.

Prak Dalin is an artist and architect who uses natural materials as well as construction materials to create sculptures and installations that appear to be like architectural structures and thematically focus on the impact of Phnom Penh’s urban development.

She says her artworks are inspired by nature and the process of conveying things into visual arts and installation. She experiments with different mediums and focuses on unconventional aspects of her materials.

“We hope the exhibition will be a place for art lovers and collectors of all types to come together and learn about the artists, their work and the world of art collecting in general,” the organisers said in a press statement.

The exhibition opens to the public on June 12, 2022 and runs until July 10, 2022.

Check out their Facebook event page: bit.ly/UrbanlandArt Or visit their website: https://urbanlandasia.com/