by Chet Chan
September 5, 2002
is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition and the publishing
of a new book which consider traditional Khmer painting and the
Reamker, the Khmer version of the Ramayana. This
project began because we felt that forms of traditional painting
were not being passed down to the younger generations while stories
such as the Reamker, which once were central to the canon
of traditional painting, were no longer being remembered.
support from the Kasumisou Foundation, Reyum commissioned the painter
Chet Chan (a painter trained at the Royal University of Fine Arts
in the early 1960s) to produce a set of paintings illustrating more
than sixty of the characters found in the Reamker. These
small tempera on paper paintings illuminate the way in which major
characters of the Reamker have been represented in what
is called traditional Khmer painting. Chet Chan’s character
paintings will be on display at Reyum from September 5th through
late November 2002. We will also be displaying his huge scene of
a heavenly palace rendered in tempera and gold leaf on canvas as
well as smaller tempera and gold leaf paintings on silk showing
various scenes of love and fighting from the Reamker.
accompanying book, published on the occasion of this exhibition,
introduces readers to the Reamker by offering a version
of the story written by the Palace Minister Thiounn in 1903 as the
mural paintings of the Reamker, still on view today in
the Royal Palace, were being painted. The character paintings are
reproduced in the book and and the ways in which characters of the
Reamker can be identified and differentiated are discussed.
A final section of the book presents a photo essay detailing the
process of painting followed by Chet Chan as he renders scenes from
the Reamker in tempera and gold-leaf on silk. The book
is hardcover (156 pages) with more than 150 color illustrations
and a bilingual text in Khmer and English.
conjunction with the exhibition and publication, Dr. Son Soubert,
professor of art history in the Department of Archaeology (Royal
University of Fine Arts), will give a lecture entitled “Meanings
of the Reamker”. The lecture will take place in Khmer
at 5:30 pm on September 10th and in English at 5:30 pm on September
11th at Reyum. On September 22, Dr. Ang Choulean, professor of archaeology
in the Department of Archaeology (Royal University of Fine Arts)
will speak on "The Reamker in Everyday Life".
The lectures are free and open to the public.
exhibition and its accompanying book were funded by a generous donation
from the Kasumisou Foundation.