Seminar: Visualizing a New Kampuchea: Developing a Post Khmer Rouge National Art Identity
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME
Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series
About the Seminar
In a post Khmer Rouge world Cambodian culture is often defined by its connection to the past, yet many young Cambodian artists and designers are looking towards the future to create a new understanding of what it means to be Cambodian. This paper examines the role Cambodian contemporary artists play in helping to develop a post Khmer Rouge national identity, through examining the current events, which are transforming the Cambodian art world. Focus over the last two decades, in regards to defining Cambodian national identity, has shifted wildly from control over language, morality, and dress code to implementation of nationalistic business practices, and political reform. Control over the arts has only recently become a topic of public concern, yet for decades the artistic community has struggled with the formulation of a post Khmer Rouge voice. This paper will closely look at what is traditionally defined as “Cambodian”, and will question how contemporary artists choose to represent these elements, or for that matter, to ignore them. These artists are constantly pushing against pre-conceived notions of what it means to be Cambodian, and are striving to show both Cambodian’s and the world that their national identity is filled with more than just sacred temples and Apsara dancers.
About the Speaker
Christine Ege grew up in Northern California, but has spent the last 12 years living outside of the United States. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland and her Master’s Degree in East Asian Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. She has been living in Cambodia for the last six years, where she has been involved on a day-to-day basis with emerging artistic talent. She is currently the Director of The Institute for Executive, Professional, and Community Education and Head of the Digital Arts and Design Department at Zaman University. She teaches many courses in the fields of art and design, with focuses on art history, business practices in art, web design, and animation. She is currently working on research related to buying and selling practices in the Cambodian contemporary art market. Her research focuses on evaluating business practices and market potential to understand how to get Cambodians more active in the local market.