Khvay Samnang. Rubber Man

This discussion, in English, moderated by Satellite 8 curator Erin Gleeson approached Khvay Samnang’s individual and collective practices, offering intimate views by the artist and two of his closest colleagues Vuth Lyno, artist, curator and Director of Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh, and Roger Nelson, curator and PhD candidate Art History, University of Melbourne.

There are more than 20 different highland indigenous groups in Cambodia who have distinctly different cultures, languages and histories from those of the lowland Khmer population. Resident forest and ancestor spirits play a critical and omnipresent role in everyday life, which follows an elaborate subsistence cycle of planting, transplanting, harvesting, and regeneration. Threatened by multiple colonialisms, many communities in this area have been able to resist the effects of state formations that have developed over the last century in Cambodia. And their spiritual beliefs have effectively ensured forest and wildlife conservation. However, land concessions and agribusiness that favor the economic powers of today – from individuals to governments to multinationals – seem the strongest threat to their time immemorial culture.

The evening was closed with a performance in The Tuileries Garden by dancer Chan Moly. Choreographed in dialog with Khvay to traditional Khmer arak music– Chan’s performance will call the spirits and act as a blessing to the creation and opening of Rubber Man [L’Homme-caoutchouc].

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