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Why are young people today not interested in traditional art?

Youth forum
Why are young people today not interested in traditional art?



Say Dany, 20, a year two student at the Cambodia University for Specialties
“I wanted to study art, but I decided to choose accounting as my major because I think an art major would be really hard work. And, unless your family has an arts background, it’s really difficult to find a job. Moreover, as an artist, you have to put up with a lot of unkind words from critics.”


Pov Nisa, 19, who teaches Khmer metallophone at Cambodian Living Arts
“Young people nowadays don’t want to study our traditional art because it doesn’t have a high profile. Television shows only  modern art, so that’s all young Cambodians know about. Moreover, information about schools that teach traditional arts is hard to come by, and even some students who want to study it don’t know where to go. Job opportunities in the traditional arts are very limited, and performers often don’t make  enough money to support their families.”


Sek Srossrey Pov, 22, a bookkeeper at the Sovanna supermarket
“I have never been interested in learning traditional arts such as Lakoun or Yke. Last year, my niece from the provinces came to pursue her studies in Phnom Penh, but she is not studying traditional arts. I think people who study traditional arts won’t find it easy to find jobs. We study and gain skills because we want to find a good job and earn a living. If we graduate and we cannot find a job in the area we’ve studied, we have wasted our time.”


Ngoun Srey Roth, 18, who plans to study at the Royal Art University:
“I think some teenagers aren’t interested in learning traditional art because they think it doesn’t have a huge market. And students of traditional art need to have a good deal of talent, as it isn’t an easy skill to learn. But I think it’s a good major for the future. I chose it because I love this skill and I have my own talent as well. My parents have always encouraged me to study art, even though it’s not a popular major among other teenagers.”


Ung Vanrith, 19, a student from Sihanouk province who plans to study in Phnom Penh
“I have no intention to study traditional art, because I have no talent for it. This year, I have to take entrance exams for many universities such as the National Institute of Health and Institut de Technologie du Cambodge. I have no passion for traditional art, because I always see modern art on  television and most of my friends talk only about modern art.”

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