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Where art and dance overlap

SINGING, dancing and art came together in a recent seminar at Sa Sa Bassac gallery and resource centre, in which two dancers and painter Ouk Sochivy discussed the nature of movement.

Nightclubs were the inspiration for Ouk Sochivy’s latest series of cartoon-style paintings, using a faux naïf style to encapsulate the colour and sounds of hip hop dancing, cabaret and fashion shows in 11 painting under the title In the Club.

The 27-year-old artist explained her influences from her artist grandfather Svay Ken, and she explained how she visited several nightclubs to soak up the atmosphere before laying paint on canvas.

“Through my paintings, I would like to show the reality of our society. Some people like to get their entertainment through singing or dancing. And the presence of so many nightclubs in Phnom Penh gives some indication of the level of our development.”

Clubs, she felt, were not always a bad thing – they often helped workers relieve the stress of their busy days, she said. “Clubs are also a great place to do exercise, too, because people can dance and get a sweat up. Dancing can make our health better,” said Ouk Sochivy.

The artist had a formal training in accounting from the Asia Europe University in Phnom Penh. But she learned the basics of painting at her grandfather’s knee and kept producing works in his trademark cartoon style, she said.

Her works have been shown in exhibitions in Phnom Penh and Hong Kong.

Erin Gleeson, curator of the exhibition at Sa Sa Bassac, which finished on Sunday, said she brought choreographers Sophiline Cheam Shapiro and Belle Chumvan Sodhachivy to join the discussion and to share their experiences of dancing.

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro was the first generation to graduate in classical dance from the Royal University of Fine Art in Phnom Penh and the founder of the Khmer Arts Academy to pass on traditional dance forms in the United States and Cambodia.

Gestures could exactly represent the words in ancient dramas, she explained, showing how each movement corresponded with a word or phrase to make the meaning more clear to the audience.

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