Cambodian-Australian art show ‘good for ties’

Cambodian-Australian art show ‘good for ties’

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Australian ambassador Penny Richards opens the New Artefacts exhibition at the Sa Sa Bassac Gallery in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

The Australian ambassador to Cambodia paid tribute to the power of art to boost international ties as a new joint Cambodian-Australian exhibition opened on Thursday.

Works by both Cambodian and Australian artists that have been “left over” from past exhibitions went on show in the white cube space of Sa Sa Bassac Gallery in Phnom Penh, which until now has only hosted solo shows for Cambodian artists.

Penny Richards, the Australian ambassador to Cambodia, said the collective exhibition, titled New Artefacts was a sign of the burgeoning relationship between Australia and Cambodia.

The eight art works exhibited include working material, documents, notes and sketches by nine artists from both countries.

The exhibited objects include pieces that, while finished, did not fit within a series, or were edited out in a selection process, or were not included in an exhibition.

lfredo and Isabel Aquilizan’s In Flight was created from recycled materials, string and sound files while Amy Lee Sanford’s Full Circle 2012 features the artist individually breaking, and gluing 40 Kampong Chhnang clay pots.

Speaking at the official opening of the exhibition on Thursday night, Penny Richards, the Australian ambassador to Cambodia, said that she admired the Australian and Cambodian artists for collaborating and said their show had strengthened the relationship between the two countries.

“New Artefacts shows the artists’ expertise and creativity. It promotes the relationship between those countries more and more. I welcome and admire them,” she said.

The exhibition brings together both emerging and established artists from Australia and Cambodia, facilitating the possibility of cross-cultural exchange between the countries.

Roger Nelson, curator of the exhibition and the first independent curator to be granted a show at the gallery, said that it is the first time that art work from both Australia and Cambodian has been shown there.

“It shows the creative talent that can happen when Australians and Cambodians learn from each other. I hope that the exhibition will be a success,” he said.

He told the Post earlier this month that he hoped the show would “counter a problematic model for creative exchange in developing and post-trauma societies like Cambodia”.

Joining nearly 100 guests at the opening, Chhoun Ratanak said that he was happy to attend and praised the creativity of the artists.

“I know a lot and am getting to know more from the exhibition. And I think that the show has been well done,” he said.

Nico Mesterham, the founder of Meta House, said the show was “great and fun” and good for Cambodian-Australian friendship.

New Artefacts will run until September 2 at Sa Sa Bassac Gallery in Phnom Penh.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at [email protected]

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