Ean Monileak visits a contemporary photo exhibition on air pollution.
As you travel around Phnom Penh every day, you’ve probably noticed the smoke and dust in the air. And it’s not even surprising. With thousands of vehicles, dozens of road constructions and industries in the capital, we surely know where these air pollutants come from.
This ever-present but disregarded ‘silent and invisible killer’ – air pollution – is what made freelance photographer Mech Sereyrath take action, the artistic way.
‘Contemporary Breath’ is a series of photographs illustrating the sources of air pollution captured in Phnom Penh from February to May this year by Sereyrath for her senior year thesis.
Upon arrival at the launch of the exhibition on July 14 guests were each given a Ferrero Rocher chocolate in an attempt to let them “suck it to get some clues”.
The displayed photographs were artistically pleasing to the eyes, but they also invoked thoughts inside those who’ve seen them. Some photographs were straightforward; some required more critical thinking to get the message behind. Guests were advised to look at the photographs before reading the captions so they could see the photos and their meanings from their own perspective.
Sereyrath, 24, is passionate about nature and the environment. She is a fresh graduate from the Department of Media and Communication. She used street photography and her photojournalism skills as tools to convey her nature-centred messages.
“I applied for a scholarship to study environmental science, but I failed. So, I thought to myself that I don’t have to go into a course on environment to contribute something for its improvement.”
With Phnom Penh’s fast growth in population and economy, environmental pollution is also growing with it.
Seeing the lack of sustainable environmental actions, Sereyrath takes matters into her own hands by displaying her photographs to the public. She hopes it will raise awareness to the problem as well as bring about feasible solutions.
“Contemporary Breath” is open to the public for free until tomorrow, July 21, in The Sleuk Rith Institute inside the National Institute of Education on Preah Suramarit Boulevard (Street 268) near the Independence Monument.