The city of Montpellier, the southern French jewel, is ready to host the transformative Montpellier 2030 Festival. Taking place from June 28 to July 1, it’s the first in a series that will run until 2030.

Crafted by a collective led by organic cognac distillery Patte Blanche, Pleiade Production, Pioche Magazine, and the socially-engaged Generation C, the festival is the brainchild of esteemed Cambodian artist Adana Mam Legros. It aims to elevate Montpellier into a cultural beacon of Europe.

With the guidance of philosopher Edgar Morin and atelier Artivistes, the festival pairs the flair of six Montpellier creatives with the diverse artistry of three talents based in Phnom Penh.

“The Montpellier 2030 Festival invites citizens to become active participants in the city’s journey towards becoming Europe’s future cultural hub,” Adana Mam Legros, co-founder and president of Generation C, declared.

Legros, a socially-engaged artist with Cambodian heritage, relocated to France last year to expand her artistic presence and spread the values of Generation C. During the past year, she successfully hosted two exhibitions and participated in local events that spotlighted the Generation C ethos.

The festival, with its line-up of conferences, workshops, performances, and citizen actions, will help mould Montpellier’s future. It connects global citizens, artists, and professionals to imagine a greener, interconnected world.

Echoing Morin’s philosophy, Legros emphasises the need for “a new political civilization and a politics of civilization”.

The partnership with Morin and Generation C has resulted in an international artistic showcase, featuring Montpellier’s local talent alongside gifted artists from Cambodia.

Legros explains that the festival seeks to birth a conscious humanity that Generation C dubs ‘the awakened souls’.

She chose to involve Cambodia-based artists to provide a wider perspective on global crises, given her shared French and Cambodian heritage.

“I aimed to give the festival a broader scope by drawing attention to global crises. I wanted to spur change not just locally, but globally. Being of Cambodian and French descent, it was vital for me to unite my two cultures in this collaboration,” Legros informed The Post.

The Cambodian artists will create a visual narrative of human evolution, their work to be displayed throughout Montpellier’s streets, challenging passers-by to contemplate our collective future.

The Quartier Mediterranee district of Montpellier will showcase works by Miguel Jeronimo, Kmeng Lyna, and Sakin Kitya on June 29. The artists will present their creations aligning with Generation C’s vision at the Halle Tropisme cultural centre on July 1.

Over the festival, spectators can witness the creative process during four days of live painting. The climax is a collective artwork depicting figures passing a baton, symbolising the younger generation’s pledge to preserve Morin’s philosophical legacy.

Miguel Jeronimo’s KHMERVOLUTION celebrates ordinary Cambodians striving for a fairer, sustainable future. From marine conservationists to human rights activists, Jeronimo’s mosaic honours those striving for social progress.

Based in Phnom Penh, Jeronimo is a versatile artist with over seven years of experience. He is passionate about social issues, with work in environmental conservation and human rights advocacy, creating an impact through meaningful art collaborations.

“The intent was to depict humanity’s evolution through a collage of social workers and communities in Cambodia, tirelessly pushing for progress,” said Jeronimo, a Phnom Penh-based Portuguese photographer.

Kmeng Lyna by Eng Elyna introduces us to an artist who weaves her emotions into designs, creating transformative characters grounded in Khmer art. Lyna’s work inspires younger generations, as she believes “souls are connected through shared experiences”.

“I’ve engaged with the soul through my work, one such project being Cambodia’s Bonn Phum - Village Festival, wherein I translated my talents into art designs,” Lyna explains.

Sakin Kitya’s From animal to AI takes viewers on an evolutionary journey. A 20-year-old architecture student from Phnom Penh, Kitya spends his time studying, sketching, and enjoying sports.

“I was asked to draw something linked to evolution for this project. Thus, I decided to depict the evolution from animals and early humans to robots and AI, integrating the backdrop of Khmer temples and traditional dance,” said Kitya.

The Montpellier 2030 Festival extends an open invitation to witness the transformative power of art. It brings together citizens, artists, and professionals, encouraging them to engage in the city’s journey towards becoming a future cultural hub. United by a shared vision, they are working to carve out a new path for Montpellier, setting a precedent for other cities to follow.