WASHINGTON DC - Born in 1970 in Prey Veng province at the start of the American bombings in Cambodia and the Cambodian civil war, artist Leang Seckon today sees the need to bring closure to the country’s ordeal.
In a Skype interview with VOA Khmer, Leang Seckon says the war brought much destruction to Cambodia, and he wants to use his art to help bring closure. “As an artist, I have an obligation to look at what caused Cambodia to break apart and try to end the suffering,” he said.
One work, “Heavy Skirt,” uses his mother’s old skirt, patched again and again over years of war, to symbolize the burdens she endured, he said. “I turned the skirt into a blanket that can put of the fire caused by war.”
Leang Seckon was recently in New York as part of the Season of Cambodia arts festival, in which hundreds of artists perform in some of New York’s top venues in April and May.
He spent 10 years at the Royal University of Fine Arts, where he learned to work across mixed media. His work deals with themes ranging from peace, environmental protection, popular culture and history. He has become a leading member of Cambodia’s arts community and has seen his works displayed in Shanghai, Japan and Great Britain, among others.
As part of the Season of Cambodia festival, he was made an artist in residence at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. There he assembled an American military parachute as a skirt, working in collaboration with members of the Cambodian and Vietnamese diaspora.