A young Cambodian woman appears to soar into the sky like a superhero. Elsewhere another young woman dressed in traditional attire stares longingly at the sky, while a youthful male wearing modern gear holds his hands wide seemingly staring above with hope.
These images form a portion of Cambodian artist Theanly Chov’s latest exhibition, ‘The Rise/ ការកកឡើង’, which will take center stage at Sra’Art gallery in Phnom Penh next month.
The striking artworks draw inspiration from various sources that range from Soviet propaganda imagery and 19th century Russian painting, to legendary Khmer artist, Nhek Dhim. The revered painter died on December 16, 1978 under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.
“Chov's art explores the complex themes of individualism and societal progress in post-war Cambodia,” according to a press release from Sra’Art.
“His subjects are often depicted in a characteristic pose, reaching for the sky as a symbol of the Cambodian people's desire to move forward after years of tragedy and conflict.”
Characterized by their meticulous attention to detail and use of oil on canvas techniques, Chov’s paintings capture the struggle and difficulty of realizing oneself as an individual in a society driven by the pursuit of opportunity and upward mobility.
Despite these heavy themes, Chov's artwork also carries a sense of optimism and harmony. “His use of color and composition creates a visually stunning experience for viewers, drawing them into his world and inviting them to contemplate the complexities of the human condition,” the press release continued.
“Overall, Chov's paintings are incredibly powerful and thought-provoking. Visitors to the Sra'Art Gallery exhibition will be captivated by his unique vision and artistic skill. Don't miss this opportunity to experience the work of one of Cambodia's most talented contemporary artists.”
‘The Rise/ ការកកឡើង’ opens on August 3 at Sra’Art, 7/9EO Sothearos Boulevard, with a special opening event from 7pm. The exhibition runs for six weeks. In addition, Sra’Art’s first modern art display will be installed on the first floor.