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Art to show environment problems

Mark Tilly / Khmer Times Share:
Curbing Entropy, on display at 1963 gallery in Siem Reap, will feature on Green Day. Supplied

Contemporary art and film will come to the fore at this weekend’s edition of Meta House’s Green Day, as the event shows the best and the worst of Cambodia’s environmental issues.
 
Now in its eighth year, the bi-monthly fair aims to bring businesses, environmental groups and NGOs together to share ideas and innovations as well as to spread awareness about Cambodia’s mounting environmental woes.
 
The event has grown steadily according to Meta House founder Nicholas Mesterharm as Cambodians become more aware of their effect on the environment and begin to see the results of more global issues such as climate change.
 
“There are a lot of things going on at a grassroots level and the knowledge of the average Cambodian about climate change is limited, but they’re interested,” he said yesterday.
 
“They see that something is going on and it affects them, in this regard we’re somehow connecting the dots – we’re bringing researchers and communities together.”
 
This weekend, a photographic exhibition will be held on the installation that is currently being shown at Siem Reap’s 1961 Gallery, by US born artist John Melvin.
 
The sculpture “Curbing Entropy”, which spans more than four meters in almost every direction, is made out of about 10,000 repurposed plastic bottles, tied together with wire.
 
Melvin hopes his piece will draw people’s attention to their daily plastic use adding that his sculpture is indicative of Siem Reap’s plastic consumption.
 
“The whole body of work conceptually is about connection and relationship between nature and culture,” he said on Tuesday.
 
“The first goal was to really educate people on the amount of waste from plastic bottle production and if that gravitates and resonates with them, the next goal is to see if they can come up with a solution.”  
 
Melvin said he was proud to have photos of his work displayed at Meta House, thanks to its holistic approach towards raising awareness on environmental issues.
 
“Something that’s happening within the contemporary arts is they’re starting to realize they can actually do something, they can communicate ideas and can affect change,” he said.
 
“I think Meta House is ideologically and philosophically aligned with that and I think this green festival touches it perfectly.”
 
Also featured at this weekend’s Green Day is the premiere of “A Cambodian Nature Film” an aptly named documentary that tours the rich biodiversity and natural heritage that is at stake thanks to issues such as Cambodia’s plastic usage, according to Mesterharm.
 
“There’s a lot to be done anywhere, there are so many issues that this country has to tackle,” he said.
 
“The topic of plastic pollution is a very pressing one – it’s something that we want to do.”
 
The 90-minute documentary, directed by Daniel Roper-Jones and presented by naturalist Chea Samban explores the flora and fauna, from water snakes to gibbons.
 
While Mesterharm said Cambodians are more into feature films than documentaries, the documentary’s environmental themes will strike a chord among the audience.
 
“Many people for example will tell you that the Cambodian youth is not interested in pressing social and political topics, but they’re very interested in the environment,” he said.
 
“I think it’s a stunning environmental documentary, which hopefully caters to a Cambodian audience, they like feature films, but when
it comes to nature we shall see.”
 
Meta House’s Green Day will be held this Saturday from 2pm, with ‘A Cambodian Nature Film’ at 6:30pm, admission is free.

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