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Cambodian Living Arts creates opportunities for rising artists

Srey Kumneth / Khmer Times Share:
Five talented Cambodians get their awards for the Dam Dos Grant programme. KT/Srey Kumneth

Cambodian art has been gaining its well-deserved fame in and out of the country over the years. Local artists are staging exhibits across continents, bringing with them the Cambodian pride. But while the art world is expanding rapidly, most of the local artists still find it hard to gather funds to showcase their masterpieces and talents.

Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) acknowledge this common and sad reality in the country’s art scene. So to help budding artists and creative Cambodians to hone their talents and be recognised globally, CLA organised Dam Dos Grant programme. Five talented locals were given the support they need in their creative endeavours.

During last week’s event, CLA presented the winners of the Project Grant and Mobility Grant of Dam Dos.

Project Grants were given to artists who wanted to create or research new art projects. The Mobility Grants, meanwhile, were for those who wished to apply for funding to join conferences and short study courses in Cambodia or in any Asean state.

Yeng Chheangly, one of the winners, said he will be translating an anthology of poetry from Asean countries to highlight the beauty and challenges of each place.

“I am going to compile and translate poems and stories related to Asean countries. So when people read the book, they will learn more about Asia, not just the history of Cambodia. Other nations have beautiful and sorrowful history, too. People will understand the tragedies faced by each country so they will be inspired to uphold peace and reconciliation in the region. The book will make them not want to have any more war,” Mr Chheangly said, hoping that the book will be useful for students across the region.

Sao Sreymao, on the other hand, will be creating a photography project centered on the effects of hydropower developments in communities along the Mekong River.

She shared that the concept of the project came after she visited Mekong River and realized that there were only few artworks that highlight the problems faced by the people near the river.

Ms Sreymao also urged young Cambodian artists to apply for Dam Dos Grants so they can grow better as artists.

“I hope for the next Dam Dos Grant programme, more artists will join and create their proposals. I know many here need this help for them to be able to exhibit their artworks. But some people think making the proposal is complicated so they get discouraged and back down even before they have started their applications,” she shared.

The other winners of the Project and Mobility Grants were Pong Pon, Siv Sereysathia and Chhit Chanpheareak.

Pon travelled to Singapore for the Asean Puppetry Festival and Exchange Workshop. Sereysathia, for her part, will hold an exhibition and mixed media workshop about 100 stories of Cambodian diaspora. Chanpheareak will be conducting a research and will write script for the theater piece “Okhna Chaktorong Yous.”

The five winners all expressed their gratitude for the support Cambodian Living Arts is giving them in their respective artistic flairs.

The organisation believes that through the Dam Dos, Cambodian artists will be given equal opportunities to advance the art and culture sector of the Kingdom as many artists are genuinely capable of becoming great painters, dancers, poets, writers and photographers.

During an interview with Youth Today late last year, CLA’s programme manager for knowledge, networks and policy, So Phina, said that the grant programme was developed to offer artists who are still building their names in the industry help in their crafts. Dam Dos is open to all community based troupe, artists from indigenous ethnic group and artists with disabilities.

Aside from Dam Dos, CLA also highlights its advocacy to boost the Cambodian arts and culture through conferences, trainings, festivals and Khmer Magic Music Bus among others.​

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