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PhotoPhnomPenh 2011 –Khvay Samnang


This series is a pure product of the logic of PhotoPhnomPenh. Indeed, last year during the “Intersection” exchange, which allowed a Cambodian photographer to work in dialogue with one of the foreign artists invited, Khvay Samnang began a series of portraits of his neighbors in the “Building.” Completely different portraits, but brought to life by the same social reflection and involvement as his students, whose work we presented during the first PPP, in 2008. Samnang is an artist, a professor of drawing, and among his most remarkable works, he has invented masks that give a new sense to this tradition which has come from the Ballet. He suggested to his neighbors who refused to show their faces to choose a mask and wear it for the photo session. Thus was born this rare series, a profound questioning of identity, of the mysterious way in which we can “appropriate” another person, through small touches, through clues. Poetic and strange, with sumptuous colors, both playful and serious, this series is by turns charming, documentary, upsetting and moving. It is also very beautiful. And it speaks of the involvement of an artist who has found out how to make the mastery of his technique coincide with the pertinence of his complex subject.

Born in 1982 in Cambodia. Lives and works in Cambodia. Graduate from the Royal University of Fine Arts of Phnom Penh in painting, he has exhibited his work in several places including Hair at Java Café and Gallery (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), Wedding at Sa Sa Art Gallery (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) . He also participated in numerous group exhibitions such as Reminder at Bophana Center (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), The Night of the Year at the Rencontres d’Arles (Arles, France), Big Eyes at Sa Sa Art Gallery (Phnom Penh , Cambodia), Luxury Time and Space in Tokyo Wonder Site (Aoyama, Japan), Between / Myanmar-Cambodia at the Meta House (Cambodia).

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