Creative Cambodia

It has been about five months since I arrived in Cambodia.  Many things have happened, so let me update you all a little.

Lets start with ART!  I befriended a Khmer couple here in Battambang, Cambodia. They are both artists and own an art gallery called Make Make.  Mao So Viet is thirty one and his wife Phin Sophorn is twenty six.  They both graduated from the circus school where I work and decided that Battambang needed an art space and scene outside of the circus campus, so Make Maek was created. The gallery/art lounge has been open for about three months now, and they are still trying to figure out how to make the gallery a ‘must go to destination.’  Here they are:

and below is a picture taken from the opening day of Make Maek gallery

I must mention Kat Eng as well. She spearheaded the Make Maek project along with So Viet and Phin. She is an American artist and co-founder of the gallery. Unfortunately, she left to the U.S.  As she put it, she was waiting for someone like me so that she could move on. So there you have it. I am now helping to run an art gallery.   Here is a pic of all three founders:

Battambang has been known to produce artists but it still has a ways to go before it has a serious art scene.   First, Battambang needs to create an art friendly environment. An exciting one!

So if that is what needs to happen, that is what we will do!

The three founders allowed me to create an event I pitched to them.  It’s called MAKE LIGHT.  Basically, we hand out sparklers out on the street every Saturday at 7pm as a way to create a fun environment  and to lure people into the gallery. The neighborhood is also full of kids who are our main visitors, which is great! They are always waiting at the gallery door right on time.  Keep in mind that we are exposing locals to something different. Remember that because of the not too long ago events of the Khmer Rouge, many cultural treasures were lost, including art.  But others have noticed as well. The New York Times!!  As they point out though, the event itself needs more, and we will deliver!  Here is the article:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/travel/a-pocket-of-the-past-in-battambang-cambodia.html?pagewanted=1&smid=fb-share

and pics of the event:

And as a way to make even more light, So Viet and I have created light pods which when done, will illuminate
the whole block…only on Saturdays though. We don’t want to freak the neighbors out.  We do have some as part of a permanent installation out in front of the gallery though. Bringing the art out into the streets you see. 😛

As for things back home, I’m still teaching my Khmer family English almost every night.

Here is my host mother protecting her money box as she naps…and the chicken pet protecting her.

And here we have Phin and her art.
Till next time!