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Exhibition explores dualities

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The focus of a new exhibit in Phnom Penh, photographer Gay Wind Campbell takes an oblique approach to Cambodian life and culture

Photo by: Tracey Shelton

Photographs by Gay Wind Campbell stand ready for hanging in the Once/Twice: Focus on Southeast Asia exhibit at Java Cafe.

Fine arts photographer Gay Wind Campbell, mother of US interim ambassador to Cambodia Piper Campbell, will host an opening party for her exhibit Once/Twice: Focus on Southeast Asia today at Java Cafe.

The main feature of the show is a collection of photomontages that focus on the idea of layers in society, as well as the duality and dichotomies in Cambodian history, religion and culture. The montage images take on nuances from each other to tell a deeper story.

One of Campbell's montages combines an image of a land mine victim playing a traditional instrument with an image of serene rice fields backed by palm trees and mountains.  

Countryside life

In addition to the photomontages, the exhibit will present a collection of portraits of Cambodian life. These photographs are simply composed and highlight traditional elements of nature.

When asked what stands out about Campbell's show, Java Cafe owner Dana Langlois said, "The clarity of the images, they're quite clear, nice colours.... [They] have a nice atmosphere. They're really a nice representation of what you'd expect to see".

"A lot of it is really much more countryside than city, so it's nice and a bit fresh - different from what you'd normally see in the city," she said.

International photography

Campbell has traveled the world capturing images on 35mm film. Recently, she shot in Tuscany, Namibia, Cambodia and the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Her works also include prints from Patagonia, Tanzania, China, Australia and Laos.

She is captivated by all subjects that involve people, places and nature - anything that highlights her keen eye for design and balance, while searching for the essence and spirit of the subject.

When not travelling, the former native of western New York is at home northwest of Boston.

She particularly relishes time spent with family and friends as she continues to create incredible images.

For a good cause

All proceeds from the sale of Campbell's work will go to the Mith Samlanh, or Friends International, land campaign.

The campaign aims to raise funds to pay a US$2.5 million bank debt incurred for  the purchase of the Friends Centre. Located in downtown Phnom Penh, the centre serves more than 1,800 street children each day by providing food, hygiene, health care and vocational training.

Langlois said she hopes to raise between $2,000 and $3,000 during the show's nearly two-week run.
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