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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Art show blends natures of human, animal

Art show blends natures of human, animal

“ARE we human, are we animal or are we both?” asked Kosal Khiev, ahead of the opening of German cultural centre Meta House’s newest exhibition, Animals, last night.

The show, which runs until August 5, features abstract interpretations of the role of animals in society by a collection of international and Cambodian artists.

A wire sculpture of an elephant sits in front of a painting by Kosal Khiev
A wire sculpture of an elephant sits in front of a painting by Kosal Khiev ahead of the opening of Animals at Meta House. ELI MEIXLER

A painting of a bright red bird and a giant woven dragon are a couple of the colourful and unusual interpretations featured in the show.

According to Myley Rattle, who curated the exhibition, Animals asks both the artist and viewer to interpret “the idea of the animal companion, how it is perceived in contemporary society and its relationship with humanity”.

The artists have utilised a variety of styles to address the topic, including an interactive animal, wire sculptures, stencils, and colourful, wild and wacky paintings.

The exhibit, which was previously shown at Street 330 bar Show Box, managed by Rattle, was inspired by the Contemporary Arts and Music (CAM) Projects.

CAM is a weekly workshop held at Showbox that encourages young Cambodians to get involved in the arts.

The exhibition has since incorporated more Cambodian and international artists through the fostering of art at Show Box.

“We wanted to showcase the work of some of the artists, even if they don’t think it’s worth showing it’s important to get their names out,” said Myles.

Artist and spoken word poet Khiev was born in a Thai refugee camp before immigrating to the US.

He was deported back to Cambodia, a country he had never known, at the age of 30 after spending more than a decade in jail.

While in jail he discovered the beauty of spoken word and began to use art to learn about himself and life around him.

“This exhibition is about bringing the human and the animal counterparts together, in a sense of how can we find that balance, that harmony,” Khiev explained.

Rattle and his co-organiser, Josh Page, will follow the exhibition with a variety of events including poetry nights and discussions at both Meta House and Show Box.

Animals runs until August 5 at Meta House. The centre is located at #37 Sothearos Boulevard. Entry is free.

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