The Sovannasam Cheadok

Paintings by the students of the Reyum Art School

Opening reception, July 9, 2003




Reyum is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition and the publication of a catalogue entitled “The Sovannasam Cheadok”. Over the last six months, the students of the Reyum Art School have been studying the Sovannasam Cheadok (or Jataka) which tells the story of one of the lives of the Buddha prior to the life in which he finds enlightenment. The story of the Sovannasam Cheadok is often represented by a scene or two on the walls of temples throughout Cambodia, but it is never, to our knowledge, shown in all its narrative detail. For this exhibition, the older students of the Reyum Art School have painted twenty-four large acrylic on canvas paintings which illustrate the story of Sovannasam in detail. In addition, younger students of the School will offer various renditions of scenes from the story created from their imaginations.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full color catalogue which presents a synopsis of the story of Sovannasam. The catalogue includes an article by San Phalla and Preap Chanmara setting the Sovannasam Cheadok into the larger context of temple painting in Cambodia. Examples of representations of the story from various temples in Cambodia are discussed and ways of representing the characters are illuminated. A final short essay describes the state of temple painting commissions today.

Conceived and funded by the Kasumisou Foundation, the Reyum Art School remains a collaborative project between the Kasumisou Foundation and Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture. Founded three years ago, the Reyum Art School offers free half-day classes in drawing and painting for disadvantaged children who are willing to come on a regular basis and participate in lessons with some degree of concentration and commitment. The goals of the school are to train children in representational drawing, while developing their creative and imaginative thinking, and giving them a basic understanding of their rich cultural heritage. The current exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Kasumisou Foundation; the Toyota Foundation supports San Phalla and his ongoing Reyum research project on temple painting.