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Big noise over deaf artist’s work


Two exhibitions will launch tonight at 6.30pm at the Friends Centre at Angkor Hospital for Children. The primary exhibition is a collection of paintings entitled Life, a solo debut for Battambang artist, Ot Veasna. Alongside it, the Community Corner will host Snadai Khmer, an initiative bringing art to disadvantaged children in Siem Reap.

Life, curated by Bina Hanley of the McDermott Gallery, will tackle two vastly contrasting topics. The first is on the reality of “love” in Cambodia, and the second focuses on humans and animals and their relationships with one another.

“This exhibition is a bold new step for this gallery,” explains curator Bina. “They have never shown artwork like this before. It is a very contemporary, colourful and abstract series touching on two completely different aspects of life.”

Veasna, born in 1980 in Kandal province and raised by his single mother, is completely deaf. He received no formal schooling and is unable to speak, read, write or sign. But in 2008, he was introduced to the Visual Arts Department at
Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang, where he wowed professors with his extraordinary talent.

“We are looking at this exhibition as the start of a new and exciting direction for both the gallery and the artist,” explains Bina.

Angkor Hospital for Children is a cause close to hearts of all at McDermott Gallery, with the team there assisting the Friends Centre in many of its artistic endeavors.

“The hospital was founded by a fellow photographer friend of John McDermott’s, Kenro Izu, and we have always promoted and supported it whenever we can,” says Bina.

A complementary exhibition in the Community Corner will showcase items generated from Snadai Khmer workshops and art projects. Established in 1998 by Madam Hiroko Measu, Snadai Khmer encourages creative expression in local underprivileged, abused and disabled children.

The twin exhibitions will run for four months. Ot Veasna will attend with his mother and mentor and art professor, Tor Vutha. Proceeds from sales of artwork will go towards the hospital.



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