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‘Season of Cambodia’ Festival an Inspiration, Organizers Say

U.S. prosecutors and the Cambodian government say the 1,000-year-old sandstone statue, The Mahabharata, was looted from the temple of Prasat Chen in the 1960s or 1970s and should be repatriated.
The “Season of Cambodia” arts festival in New York drew much attention to Cambodian artists, dancers and others, surprising audiences.

Vann Sann, a spokesman for the festival, told VOA Khmer in a TV interview that the festival allowed 125 Cambodian artists to exhibit their skills and demonstrate to the world “scale and scope” of Cambodia’s arts scene.

Cambodian exhibitions, displays, performances and community gatherings all took place during the two-month festival, which was held in New York because of the city’s cultural importance to the US and the world, Vann Sann said. This allowed a “wide variety” of partnerships for the festival, he said.

The festival cost more than $2.6 million and took more than three years to plan. This made it difficult to make decisions in the end, Vann Sann said.

“We wanted to be as inclusive as possible and to present as much as possible, because with a festival like this we don’t know if we are going to get a second chance to do it,” he said.

Regardless, Vann Sann said he hopes the festival inspired Cambodian communities around the world to do something similar.

“We would absolutely love to see more celebration of Cambodian arts and culture around the world inspired by ‘Season of Cambodia,’” he said.