Continuity and Transmission

Opening reception, January 29, 1999



This exhibition presents three artists working in different areas of the traditional visual arts: silversmithing, traditional painting, and mask making. We display their work in order to celebrate the achievement of their lives and to show their ongoing commitment to their art. As those who carry with them living traditions in the form of a certain way of practicing, these artists help to raise the question of how to build Khmer visual arts in the future. As Cambodia jumps ever more quickly into modernity, one wonders what resources can be used to allow sustainable evolution of the visual arts. It seems to us that the artists presented here form a continuous strand, drawn up from a long and rich past, which should not be broken. The difficult and delicate problem is to understand that development does not necessarily mean rupture with and opposition to the past. On the contrary, sustainable development relies on continuity. The training of the next generations is a fundamental component of the practice of each of the artists presented here. We find therefore that transmission and education is a crucial element in preserving the fragile string of continuity and we hope that our exhibition participates in this process.