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Group Seeks to Keep Cambodian Arts Alive

[Editor’s note: Organizations like Cambodian Living Arts work to restore and improve Cambodia’s artistic heritage. Cambodian Living Arts was established 10 years ago by Arn Chorn Pond, a Cambodian-American who was nominated for an Emmy for “The Flute Player.” He founded the organization when he first returned to Cambodia to support arts masters who had helped him survive the horrors of the Khmer Rouge.The group’s executive director, Prim Phloeun, recently took a trip to the US, including Washington, where he spoke to VOA Khmer on the challenges facing his group and the support it gets from donors.]

Q. What projects does your group work on?

A. Cambodia Living Arts is working on some projects to promote Cambodian culture. We are especially trying to maintain Cambodian classical music, classical dance and Cambodian plays that have been getting lost. We are now also working with popular dance. We are trying hard to preserve and ensure that our tradition and culture don’t fade.

Q. Has your trip to the US born been fruitful?

A. CLA’s projects have been established over the past 10 years with mostly US-supported funding. Since I’ve been here, I’ve met some donors who are willing to continue to promote Cambodian culture. I’ve met about 10 rich donors here who still want to provide funding for our group to be able to continue to move our projects forward.

Q. How has your organization helped Cambodia in terms of art and culture?

A. As you know, CLA is helping 15 art masters, such as Eang Sithol, Kong Nay, Tep Mary and some other senior professors who are skilled in classical music, classical dance and Cambodian plays. We have 15 projects for CLA in six provinces in Cambodia. We have 300 young students who want to learn more about our Cambodian culture.

Q. How much do those students understand now?

A. Most of them are becoming skillful. So far, they’ve gone to perform Cambodian dance and culture in Edinburgh, Scotland, for a month. Cambodia was one of the top five most attracted performances among 100 countries around the world.