ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print

Cambodian contemporary art comes of age

Provocative generation of artists tackles troubled history and current woes

Conceptualist Svay Sareth carries "Ball and Chain" through Phnom Penh (Courtesy of Sa Sa Bassac Gallery)

PHNOM PENH -- Abstract expression, that nihilist art from 1950s New York, is alive and well -- in Cambodia. Crowds gather regularly in the provincial town of Battambang to witness "live painting" by students who fling colors, glitter, glue, paper scraps and even metal chains onto large public canvasses. And this year, representatives from a nation that has only two art schools, offering no formal courses on Western traditions, a single operating lithography press, and not one serious commercial gallery, have been invited for the first time to both the Venice Biennale and Germany's equally prestigious Documenta.

At the German show, a member of Phnom Penh's Art Rebels collective will be screening his controversial videos -- some documenting the artist pouring buckets of sand over his head beside tropical lakes obliterated by landfill.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Discover the all new Nikkei Asia app

  • Take your reading anywhere with offline reading functions
  • Never miss a story with breaking news alerts
  • Customize your reading experience

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more