The fourth Women’s Art Forum (WAF) event on Monday, that was organised by six artist groups under the theme Home, is the first collective groundbreaking art performance held to mark the 109th International Women’s Day in the Kingdom, a joint WAF press release said.
The press release said they had chosen the theme Home in a bid to increase understanding in the younger generation about barriers women face in society and the importance of gender equality.
Home represents the place where women can experience violence and abuse, but it is also where women find love and inspiration with which to materialise their dreams, the statement read.
Po Sakun, the inclusive arts course facilitator at Epic Arts, told The Post on Monday that the theme was to show the audience the reality of society in Cambodia, where women often still experienced barriers and abuse.
He said some people in Cambodia still have outdated points of view, such as thinking women are unable to work in higher positions, must serve their husband and can only be housewives.
“The performance presented how solutions can be found to balance society between men and women in Cambodia.
“Art is a form which can be used for dissemination of these solutions, to make a change and empower people. When watching the performance, people gain understanding and learn from it,” he said.
The six groups behind the event are Messenger Band, Phare Performance Social Enterprise, Cambodian Living Arts, Epic Arts, Sophiline Arts Ensemble and Community of Artivist.
Traditional dance, singing, contemporary dance, circus, traditional and vocal theatre were performed at the event at the Chenla Theatre. Installations, art and photo collections were exhibited.
“Each image creates a portrait of an aspect of women’s existence. It reflects on the lives of women, where they are now and where they are going.
“The photos included the challenges, successes, heroics and economic status to mention but a few, of being a woman,” the press release said.
Sakun said the art performance offers new knowledge for both genders, particularly for the younger generation. He said many of them are unaware of how close they may have been to a woman who was being abused.
“Many may be unaware of how their mother and grandmother were confronted with barriers in society towards women in their time, and still today,” he said.
“The performance is a lesson for them to take away. Hopefully, they gain additional knowledge of women’s issues.
“We hope that [the younger generation] gains a deeper understanding and tries to do something to encourage gender equality.
“The performance also showed solidarity between people within the arts, and strengthened relationships between the groups,” he said.