As we head towards International Women’s Day on March 8, with its theme of gender parity, an all-women art exhibition at Siem Reap’s Treeline Urban Resort is already drawing interest.
Called ‘The Cities’, the group exhibition runs until March 29 and features three emerging women artists – Sao Sreymao, Eng Rithchandaneth aka Daneth and Prak Dalin. The trio of women explore the complexities of modern urban life and fast-changing cityscapes in their works and, according to Treeline Gallery and exhibit curator Meta Moeng, “The Cities pays attention to the practice of these emerging artists and highlights their concern and close relationship with what is happening now and in the future in their cities and country.”
“It also explores the different ways artists create their works through photographs, sculptures and installation,” she adds.
At 34 years old, Sao Sreymao is the veteran of the trio. She graduated from Phare Ponleu Selpak’s School of Visual and Applied Arts in Battambang in 2006 and was a participant of Sa Sa Art Projects’ Contemporary Art Class in 2016. She has had several exhibitions and was an artist fellow of the Sylt Foundation in Germany, undertaking a residency there in 2017. In 2018, she was also a recipient of a Dam Dos Grant from Cambodian Living Arts.
She’s a multidisciplinary artist, working in painting, photography, digital drawing, sculpture and performance. Sreymao has also worked in visual storytelling and has published graphic novels.
The exhibition will feature six of Sreymao’s works, which use photographs and digital layering to create “stamps” of the cityscape. They are described by the gallery as expressing “the peculiar anxieties of a city in flux, its gradual disconnection from nature as it rapidly transforms. Sreymao trains her lens on the city’s daily life, questioning the reality and fiction of the image through humour.”
Eng Rithchandaneth, 27, also has a wealth of experience and in December 2015 she undertook a month-long US residency in Vermont, with a stopover in New York. In 2016, she had an S-AIR Sapporo residency in Japan.
She’s a graduate in design from Phnom Penh’s SETEC Institute and also took art classes at Sa Sa Art Projects. Rithchandaneth is also a member of the White Building Collective, helping to make short films and publish photo stories online and undertook a Pisaot experimental arts residency, living and working for up to eight weeks in the Sa Sa Art Projects space in the White Building. She has also exhibited extensively and has worked for TV shows and movies as set designer and art director.
Similarly to Sreymao, Rithchandaneth is a multidisciplinary artist, working in photography, film, sculpture and installation and commenting on social issues. The exhibition will showcase four of her sculptures, collectively called ‘Black Seaweed’. The gallery say the works “Experiment with the possibilities of material and are a reflection on current economics. Two of the works resemble a snag tree, strewn with sprouts, while the other two are made of layers of wood-ear mushrooms.”
The third artist, Park Dalin is the group’s neophyte in that her work to date hasn’t had a wide audience, but her star is on the rise. “Dalin is a young artist and she hasn’t had a chance for a solo exhibition yet,” says curator Meta Moeng. “So I guess there hasn’t been much media about her.”
Dalin, originally from Kampong Cham province, is an architect by profession, working for for an architecture firm for two years. She graduated from the architecture and urbanism faculty at the Royal University of Fine Arts last year and her work has been included in several group exhibitions. Like Eng Rithchandaneth, Dalin completed Pisaot, the artist-in-residence program at Sa Sa Art Projects with an opening studio, “Merge”. As an artist and architect, she uses construction material to create sculptures, often focusing on an unconventional aspect of the material.
A quartet of her works, including Merge and three other sculptures made from building construction materials – form her contribution to “The Cities” exhibition.
Treeline’s general manager Joni Aker says the talent displayed by the three artists proves them worthy of having their work on display at the resort.
“The goal of all our exhibitions is to showcase contemporary Cambodian art and hopefully offer a platform for young up-and-coming artists to exhibit their works,” she says. “To my mind, these artists are exactly the people we want to be supporting. They are incredibly exciting, talented, dynamic and brave. Their expression and courage to experiment and push boundaries with their works amazes me and it is something that needs to be nurtured, celebrated and promoted.”
The exhibition, Treeline Gallery’s fifth, also marks the launch of Treeline Artist Grants – five artists will receive monetary support and mentorship while they each produce three artworks during a given period. The program will culminate in a show where pieces are for sale and 30 percent of the proceeds will be reinvested into Treeline’s art projects. “Treeline Urban Resort is an art and design hotel. We celebrate and champion contemporary art and design; it’s in our DNA and a huge part of our concept,” says GM Joni Aker. “Our long-term vision is to create the Treeline Art Foundation and launch an artist-in-residence program that hosts artists from across Southeast Asia.”