Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Three ‘weirdo’ artists explore diversity for second exhibition



Three ‘weirdo’ artists explore diversity for second exhibition

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The exhibition title, 180°, refers to the group’s diverse approaches to their artistic-processes, heavily rooted in the experimentalism of contemporary art and bucking tradition. Supplied

Three ‘weirdo’ artists explore diversity for second exhibition

Fresh off the back of their success with their first exhibition I Don’t Belong Here, the three offbeat young Cambodian creatives who make up the Homeless Artists Collective are now hosting their second show, 180°, in Siem Reap, celebrating their shared passion for contemporary art, music and fashion.

For their second project, the three self-professed “weirdoes” – Shanghai Chang, KWN23 and Many Sin – will open in Siem Reap’s Mirage Contemporary Art Space on Friday for their two month-long exhibition on what unites them beyond their friendship, exploring their experiences leading a new generation of contemporary artists in Cambodia.

Many Sin – a 29-year-old self-taught contemporary artist who, ironically, graduated with a BA in Banking and Finance from the University of Battambang, but now produces installations, paintings, sculptures and photography – explained the inspiration behind the collective’s name.

“As the group’s name suggests, we are seen as homeless people due to our clothes. In fact, the two other members, when they walked down the street to buy fried noodles from a cart vendor, people handed them money because they thought they were beggars,” he explains, chuckling to himself.

The title of the exhibition, 180°, refers to the group’s diverse approaches to their artistic processes, heavily rooted in the experimentalism of contemporary art and bucking Cambodian tradition.

“180° is a very important exhibition for Mirage,” says Serey Siv, the gallery’s director. “We are also a collective of artists and creatives. We understand the power of working together, experimenting, bouncing ideas off each other, getting inspired. Collectives also offer the feeling of support and this is exactly what we want to do – support and work with other artists.”

Emerging art scene

The exhibition showcases Shanghai Chang’s textiles, KWN23’s paintings and Many Sin’s steel sculptures and screen prints. 180° is a deeper exploration in their collective thoughts and will allow the artists to present their work with new meaning to Siem Reap’s emerging art-scene.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Shanghai Chang (not pictured) will exhibit dresses inspired by 17th century European fashion. Supplied

Shanghai Chang – a 23-year-old classically trained textile designer who graduated with a BA in Fashion Design and Photography from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology – will exhibit his dresses inspired by 17th century European fashion.

“His designs take the viewer back in time to his childhood ambition of becoming a ballerina; a challenging dream for a boy from a modest Cambodian family in a society of strongly predetermined gender roles,” say the event’s organisers, speaking of Shanghai Chang’s creations.

Humanity and relationships

Many Sin’s prints and sculptures explore the well-being of humanity and the complex inter-relationships between ourselves and our surroundings in a struggle between the other and the self, the community and the individual.

KWN23 – real name Sosoth Sovankong, a 21-year-old self-taught graffiti artist – was inspired by a mix of Sanskrit script, European graffiti and his lifelong attraction to urban decay, as well as street art’s naturally transient nature. This transience is important for the artist and reflects his Buddhist beliefs in reincarnation and the circularity of life.

In line with his beliefs, KWN23 refuses to buy any artistic equipment, instead using jackfruit, old toothbrushes or his fingers to paint. It is not unusual to find him out on the streets of Phnom Penh at all hours, painting or collecting materials for his next projects.

To pay tribute to the idea of circularity of life present in KWN23’s work, the event’s organisers have encouraged attendees at the opening night of the exhibition to participate.

“We encourage our guests to participate in a little experiment,” says Kasia Sumislawska, Mirage’s communications manager. “For the opening night we invite our guests to bring their own clothing items, preferably cotton t-shirts. The guests will get a chance to print one design, learning the silkscreen printing technique and giving their old garments a second life. The same way KWN is producing his artwork, up-cycling and innovating.”

Homeless Artists Collective’s 180° exhibition opens at the Mirage Contemporary Art Space on Okhna Oum Chhai Street in Siem Reap town on February 15 and runs until April 15. There will be a wine reception on the opening night hosted by Les Celliers d’Asie.

To find out more information about the exhibition you can visit Mirage’s Facebook page (@MirageSiemReap) or the Homeless Artists Collective’s Facebook page (@homeless.artistscollective).

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa