Exhibit to Showcase Cambodian Artists, Interpretations of the Last 50 Years

Kim Hak - Alive 3


Kim Hak's Alive—3, on display at the exhibition.

Roots and Branches, an exhibition featuring artists living and working in Cambodia as well as artists of Cambodian descent living and working Southern California, will open at Greenly Art Space in Signal Hill on Saturday, October 25.

Roots and Branches was curated by Kimberly Hocking, director of Greenly Art Space, Mao Soviet, artist and director of Make Maek Art Gallery in Battambang, Cambodia and Tim Robertson, an American visual artist who has spent the past five years working in Cambodia. 

"The theme, Roots and Branches, revolves around origins and aspirations," said Robertson in a statement. "We were looking for work in which the artists dealt with sources of strength and nourishment, aspirations, dreams and the future."

Stretching back to the past fifty years, Cambodia’s story has been a turbulent case. The late 1960s through the 1980s were stamped with civil war, mass murder and displacement. This exhibit is a chance to showcase a visual rebirth from a trying time, shown through the interpretations of these artists.

"That history has had a profound effect on those living in Cambodia and also Cambodian families who were forced to flee their homeland and settle abroad," Robertson continued. "The women and men sending work from Cambodia are some of the first artists their country has had in an entire generation. The artists living locally in California are part of the first several generations making a new start in a new place and beginning to express their unique perspective."

Chov Theanly detail

Chov Teanly's The Evening After Class.

In Chov Theanly’s painting, a young boy wearing modern basketball sneakers stares across the Sangkei River at a group of Buddhist monks boarding a ferryboat. Theanly said in a statement, "He's looking at the traditions of his home town and trying to figure out how it connects to the world he lives in and his future." The painting, entitled The Evening After Class, is set across the street from the shop house where he lives with his family in Battambang, a town in Northwestern Cambodia.

In Kim Hak’s photograph [pictured top], a pair of scissors lie atop a small pile of freshly cut white hair. Hak said in a statement, "It's from a lady named Seung Touch. She is 79 years old." The woman, according to Hak, was a dressmaker during Khmer Rouge time, and the picture is of her scissors. The piece, entitled, Alive—3 is part of Hak’s ongoing series portraying the household items kept by Cambodian families who endured the Khmer Rouge regime. Everyday objects that became family heirlooms.

Roots and Branches gives an opportunity for the public to experience these artists’ interpretations, responses and expressions ranging from the genealogical to the spiritual, from an ecological perspectives to sociological viewpoints.

The show will run from October 25 through January 24, 2015. After the opening, this exhibit will be open for free public viewing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 11AM to 2PM or by appointment by calling 562-533-4020. Greenly Art Space is located at 2698 Junipero Ave., Suite 113 (just North of Costco). For more information, check out the website here.

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