BATIK, hand painting on silk

Opening reception, October 25, 2000



This exhibition features new silk batik paintings by the young Cambodian artist Long Sophea. Trained first as a traditional painter at the art school in Phnom Penh, and then as a fabric designer in Moscow, Long Sophea creates work which incorporates traditional Khmer characters, ornaments, and themes into abstract geometric settings. In doing so, she juxtaposes "international" techniques and forms to local Khmer images and ornaments, thus asking how such local forms can best be understood and reinterpreted in contemporary Cambodian society.

The exhibition presents batik paintings which use two different techniques. The more familiar hot wax technique uses hot wax as the drawing medium for relatively heavy lines which keep the colored areas separate from one another. In some works however, a less well known cold technique makes use of thinned rubber cement to draw much more delicate dividing lines and ornamental shapes on the silk before the color areas are daubed in.

This is Long Sophea's first solo exhibition in Phnom Penh. Her work has previously been shown in exhibitions in Kiev (Ukraine) and Moscow (the former Soviet Union). Recently she has shown her work in Phnom Penh for the first time in the group exhibition "80 Years of the Faculty of Plastic Arts" (Royal University of Fine Arts). She has also recently shown her work in the now defunct "Art in Public Places Project" of UNESCO.