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Artist has plans in store for Siem Reap's giant plastic naga


Made from rubbish and designed to promote environmental awareness, a dismantled art installation may – fittingly – be recycled


Artist Leang Seckon speaks about his Rubbish Project in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

ARTIST Leang Seckon, famous for his use of other people's rubbish to create unique artworks, spoke at Phnom Penh's Meta House on Tuesday about one of his best-known works, the Naga installation in Siem Reap.

The 225-metre naga (mythical serpent), a tribute to World Water Day on March 22 and an initiative of The Rubbish Project founded by Leang and Fleur Smith, appeared along the Siem Reap River for three weeks in early 2008.

"Over 200 people from different areas were involved in putting the naga together in less than two weeks, including 11 fisherman who lived on the Tonle Sap River," said Leang Seckon. "We worked together, were happy together. At nighttime, when we wanted to rest, we would fall asleep on the plastic. When we finished, we finished with full hearts."

The naga was made of rattan, 150,000 handcut pieces of plastic, 150kg of recycled plastic, 10km of nylon fibre and somewhere in the vicinity of 300,000 staples. A lot of those who got involved were not artists, but had a common understanding of coming together and doing art for a worthwhile cause.

"It is about the role of art in society and getting the message out there," Leang Seckon said. "In the future we want everyone to think about the problems of plastic in the environment."

The installation, which was dismantled in April, has been stored and could return. "Maybe a day in the future we can show in New York. The naga came from the rubbish in Cambodia and will rise again."

Leang's next project will be an installation on traffic to be presented at the French Cultural Centre on September 20.



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