July 1 - August 31, 2016

Showcasing Cambodia’s contemporary art links with Australia
National Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Exhibition dates: July 1 – August 31, 2016
Curated by Dana Langlois
Sponsored by the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the National Museum

Histories of the Future is a groundbreaking exhibition that places some of Cambodia’s most prominent contemporary artists in the National Museum of Cambodia. Sponsored by the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh, all the works in the exhibition have in some way been supported by Australian art institutions. It is intended to celebrate the engagement between Australia and Cambodia through art and culture. In doing so it offers the unique opportunity to bring together contemporary Cambodian artworks in one exhibition, to be presented in a well-recognized Cambodian institution, which Australian Aid helped restore. Moreover, it is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of art institutions, conservation and developing historical narratives.

The historical relationship between Australia and Cambodia serves as a backdrop for this exhibition which focuses on recent artworks acquired or commissioned by Australian institutions. The exchange between Cambodian artists and Australian galleries and festivals has been especially active and fruitful for more than a decade. Notably, the Queensland Art Gallery (Brisbane) has had a very active role in the research and representation of contemporary art from Cambodia for the Asia Pacific Triennial (APT), a well-respected art event for the region.  Pich Sopheap, Svay Ken, Vandy Rattana and Rithy Panh were featured for APT6 in 2009/2010 and currently Anida Yoeu Ali, Leang Seckon and Khvay Samnang are highlighted at APT8 2015/2016. Recently, the National Gallery of Victoria commissioned and acquired a large sculpture by Svay Sareth to include in their international collection of contemporary art.  AsiaLink, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Darwin Festival and Ozasia have all featured and supported projects by Cambodian artists to be included in their events. In addition to these collections and festivals, Monash University and Australian National University hold important archives of both historical and artistic materials. All this makes Australia one of the most prominent supporters of contemporary Cambodian artists.

There are seventeen artworks in the exhibition from a variety of mediums, including video, photography, sculpture, prints and installations. Together, many of the works seek to resolve social, spiritual, cultural and economic tensions of the last decade as Cambodia has emerged from a century of conflicts. This close look at contemporary art highlights the importance of institutional cultivation of forms of intellectual, aesthetic and critical expression. 

HE Angela Corcoran, the Ambassador-Designate, spoke enthusiastically about the exhibition, “We are excited to present this exhibition, which showcases Australian – Cambodian cultural links across a variety of disciplines and a number of years, highlighting another dimension of the multifaceted relationship between our two countries.”

Mr Kong Vireak, Director of the National Museum of Cambodia, is also very supportive. He said, “I’m very excited to welcome an exhibition of contemporary Cambodian art to the museum. This is a great opportunity to showcase the talent of so many artists and to present it here in Phnom Penh.”

Histories of the Future
is curated by Dana Langlois, Artistic Director of JavaArts and The Boat. The exhibition features the work of fifteen artists, many of whom are well known in the international art scene. They include: Anida Yoeu ALI, KHVAY Samnang, KIM Hak, KONG Vollak, Marine KY, LEANG Seckon, LIM Sokchanlina, MEAS Sokhorn, NEAK Sophal, NEANG Kavich, PICH Sopheap, Amy Lee SANFORD, SREY Bandaul, SVAY Ken and SVAY Sareth. Notably, there are three Australians included in the exhibition for their work and collaboration on two of the featured projects: Philippa KELLY, Jorng Jam, and Keith DEVERELL and Sue MCCAULEY, The Hawker’s Song.

The exhibition will open with a private reception on Thursday, June 30, 2016. From Friday, July 1, it will be open to the public and will include a program of talks and tours. Speakers will include Vuth Lyno, artist, curator and Artistic Director of Sa Sa Art Projects, and Roger Nelson, a Cambodia-based art historian and independent curator whose talk is titled: Overlapping Relationships in 1960s Cambodian "Modern Painting.” Complete program details will be announced later.

Histories of the Future is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture (Cambodia) and the National Museum of Cambodia. Additional support provided by Melon Rouge as well as contributions from Cambodian Living Arts, JavaArts and Sa Sa Bassac.

Notes to the editor:
Dana Langlois, Curator, dana@javaarts.org, +855 12 894 180 (ENG)
Yean Reaksmey, Assistant Producer/Translator, reaksmey@javaarts.org,
+855 69 803 636 (KH)
The National Museum of Cambodia is located on Street 13 in central Phnom Penh, next to the Royal Palace. The visitor’s entrance to the compound and the admissions ticket booth are at the corner of Streets 13 and 178.
Opening hours are from 8.00am until 5.00pm daily. Last admission tickets are sold at 4.30pm.
Admission costs are $5 for foreign visitors, 500 riels for Cambodians. Children and school groups are free.

Dana Langlois is an Artistic Director and curator with a background in visual arts. For more than 16 years, she has been actively involved in curating, researching and producing contemporary arts in Cambodia. Her focus has been in Cambodia where she works with Cambodian and diaspora artists in a time of intense creativity and reconstruction that followed the tragic destruction of the country’s cultural identity.  She has produced hundreds of exhibitions and launched well-known artists through the JavaArts platform (est. in 2000).  From 2008 until 2014 she founded and directed Our City Festival, a nation-wide art and urbanism festival.  Prior to that she ran Sala Artspace, an experimental gallery and studio (2006-7), in collaboration with artist Pich Sopheap. Her work with artists has been shown and collected in established museums and galleries in Singapore, France, Australia and the US.

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