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War, Beauty, Resilience: Cambodian art and memory at AUP, October 2022

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

On 5 Oct. 2022, the American University of Paris welcomes two art shows: War and Beauty, photographer and researcher David Feingold's powerful testimony on life (and dance) in Cambodian refugee camps at the Thailand border in the 1990s; and War and Resilience, showcasing young Cambodian visual artists, alongside with seven paintings by Svay Ken, the leading figure of Cambodian modernism.

This major artistic event hosted by AUP will open with a blessing dance ceremony performed by the Khmer classical dancers from the Tep Monorom Ensemble.

"David's exceptional collection of photographs and films has been presented to great acclaim in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in January 2020, and was to travel to AUP that same year, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to postpone", remarks Marina Pok, president of Anicca Foundation and curator of the event, who has been working closely with Dr. Jonathan Shimony, Director of Fine Arts at AUP; "As we wanted to demonstrate the vitality of Cambodian visual art nowadays, we have added artworks by young artists from Cambodia who took part in the December 2021 Festival d'Art Sacré(Sacred Art Festival)in Compiegne: Din Borin, Khchao Touch, Sao Sreymao, La Mo,Leng Kimsreang, Pich Rattanak, and Roeun Sokhom."

A few weeks before the opening, the organizers came upon a truly sensational opportunity: presenting to the Cambodian diaspora and the general public in Paris seven masterpieces by artistic visionary and pioneer of Cambodian contemporary art Svay Ken (1933-2008), generously shared by art collector Johny Grizot from his recently acquired collection of oil-on-canvas paintings by the legendary artist.

"From the dark years of the civil war reflected in David Feingold's work to the vibrancy of contemporary art, this is a vast and moving evocation of modern Cambodia, with the symbolic link between two eras brought by Svay Ken, who survived the genocide and remains such an inspiration to young Cambodian artists," summarizes Marina.

Opening Ceremony at the Havilland Theater, Monttessuy Center for the Arts (AUP), 9 bis rue de Monttessuy, 75007 Paris.

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