Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sa Sa art exhibition explores urban identity, mental health

Sa Sa art exhibition explores urban identity, mental health

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Art exhibition Rebuild at Sa Sa Art Projects in Phnom Penh. SA SA ART

Sa Sa art exhibition explores urban identity, mental health

Three young artists – including a Buddhist monk – are holding an art exhibition called Rebuild at Phnom Penh’s Sa Sa Art Projects gallery space until mid-May.

Leng Kimsreang, Kong Dara, and Soung Pheakdey are exhibiting paintings, sculptures and large-scale installation works that highlight the simple yet complex cycles of life and human creation.

The three are aiming to explore the links between psychological health and urban development, the fluidity of life, love, and gender, and human relationships with ecology and dharma.

“The exhibition’s title is taken from Kimsreang’s work Rebuild, which features sculptures and installations made primarily from shattered tempered glass that she collected from various construction sites in Phnom Penh,” said Chum Chanveasna, manager at Sa Sa Art Projects.

Kimsreang, who graduated in interior design from the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA), is interested in the type and function of tempered glass because it is not only used as a weather barrier, but is also transparent, and exposes the interior of a structure.

“No matter how strong the glass is, it will shatter into many small pieces when it reaches a certain pressure level,” she said.

Kimsreang, who also took contemporary art classes at Sa Sa Art Project, sees the glass as no different from a person’s mental health; it can only withstand pressure to a certain degree.

“I put the rubble back together in various forms, such as balls, cubes, an arch, and a ground for new growth, while creating conversations with other materials, such as nails, steel bars, a tire, and textbooks,” said 26-year-old Kimsreang.

“By doing so, I am trying to create new life in something that has been broken – to show how strength and fragility go hand in hand,” she added.

She explained that by reassembling these tiny pieces of glass, she believes she is capturing the psychology of Phnom Penh’s rapid development and frequent change while contemplating the process of mental healing.

Kimsreang has featured in exhibitions in Phnom Penh since 2019, and in 2021 took part in the Festival d’Art Sacre de Compiegne in Compiègne, France.

Non-Binary, by Kong Dara, 33 comprises eight drawings made of pen and coloured pencil and a sculptural installation made of unfired clay.

The fine, delicate drawings depict blue threads twisting, wrapping around something resembling maps. In the centre are light yellow forms, which, when we take a closer look, appear to be organic forms which are swimming and moving.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
(From left) Leng Kimsreang, Soung Pheakdey and Kong Dara talk about their art at Sa Sa Art Projects. SA SA ART

“Using images of tadpoles and organic forms as symbols of growth, change, and flow, these drawings map my personal life experience as I explore and evolve while meeting new people and friends,” said Dara.

Dara, who also works as a residency coordinator at the gallery, said he wants to reflect on the growth of life, struggles, love, relationships, social development, and the LGBT+ community.

The clay sculptures of his installation show the tadpole shapes more vividly, as they move fluidly and collectively.

“The unfired clay suggests the instability, fragility, and changeability of soil and life,” he added.

Dara has appeared in many exhibitions at Cambodian and international venues including in Thailand, Vietnam and New York.

Khandha is the title of a work by artist and Buddhist monk Soung Pheakdey. Pheakdey, 27, has created human forms with visible internal organs.

He graduated from the RUFA, majoring in painting.

His six sculptures are steel skeletons, enveloped with mats, and sewn together with seams made of orange monk’s robes.

He explained that he had opened some of the sculptures, allowing people to see the rusty interior of the skeletons and its bodily cavities.

“The organs, including the stomach, lungs, heart, and liver, all play a vital role in supporting the body and are closely related to the natural environment around us,” he said.

“Together with these sculptures, the artist also added a dried tree branch,” said manager Chanveasan.

“Through this work, we see fragments of the human body and nature decaying. I believe the artist wants to warn us of the imbalance of the ecology and the impermanence of life that humans are part of,” she added.

“The artists in Rebuild examine the cycle of life, nature, and what humans create, as well as the problems they bring with them: the often-changing urban identity, the resilience and fragility of mental health, the process of building life experiences, and the imbalance and instability of life,” said Chanveasna.

“Through all these works, the artists make us question what kind of images we want to rebuild, for our psyche, way of life, living environment, and the ecosystem,” she added.

Rebuild opened on March 2 and runs until May 17 at Sa Sa Art Projects St 350, Phnom Penh.


  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • Honda shutters Siem Reap football club

    Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda, the owner of Siem Reap football club Soltilo Angkor FC, has been forced to shut the club down, after it failed to attract sponsorship for the upcoming season. Honda, the former manager of the Cambodia men's national football team, said

  • Hun Sen warns of regional tensions

    ASIA is becoming a dangerous geopolitical hotspot, with several countries announcing that they intend to send naval vessels towards Southeast Asia and on to the South China Sea, warned Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Heated geopolitical issues can easily escalate, namely to war. I am not

  • PM declares ASEAN Para Games open

    The 12th ASEAN Para Games officially kicked off on the evening of June 3 at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring fireworks and performances by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished talents. Tens of thousands of sports fans