“HOUSES IN BATTAMBANG”
Watercolor paintings by Chhum Channa
Opening reception, July
In the following text, the artist reflects on his paintings
and the steady loss of traditional wooden houses in
"When I walked through the different villages in Battambang,
I would often go to see the old houses of the villagers. I
love the shapes of the houses, and because I know how to
draw I began sketching the houses and their surroundings,
visiting each one individually for a period several months.
"Traditionally houses were made from wood and bamboo, and
the roofs were covered with palm leaves or tile. They were
built in styles such as the roong daul house [which is long
with a V-shaped roof running lengthwise], the bet house
[which is not quite at long as roong dual house, and has no
crossbeams supporting the roof], and the kantaing house
[which is a simple long hall, with a V-shaped roof]. These
houses were always built up high, off the ground on columns.
The house itself is mostly used to sleep in at night and the
space below the house is where most of the daily activities
would take place. This space is where the family members
would do their housework, sit and relax, eat meals together,
and where they would house their cattle. It also offered
protection from the sun, wind and rain.
"Recently, the life-styles of Cambodians have changed,
changing the shapes of the houses along with it. Now the
shapes are more modern and made of concrete, which is more
affordable to people than wood, which is expensive and
requires more maintenance. Even people who still own
traditional wooden houses will often replace parts of the
wooden structure with concrete.
"This makes me think about all the traditional Khmer houses
that are beginning to disappear and the future generations
of Cambodians who will not have the chance to see them. So
even though these paintings are pieces of art and not
photographs, they can still be a record of these houses, and
a stored memory of the past for the future."
About the artist
Chhum Channa was born in 1986 on the Khmer-Thai border. He
studied at Phare Ponleu Silapak in Battambang from 2000-2005
and is now beginning his career as an emerging artist.
With the support of:
The Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation – The Rockefeller Foundation -