There are times one is drawn to an artist for reasons that seem difficult to articulate but rumble inside you like an ancient memory resurfacing. Such it is with my relationship with Van Chhovorn and his sculptures and paintings. Holding a wood carving of his in my hands emits feelings far beyond their sight, touch or smell. The wood quietly whispers to me of a life, a family, and a culture that I may witness but never quite know. To many, this will sound hackneyed but to me, it is the gift that art sometimes offers.
Chov Theanly announced years ago that he wanted to be an honest painter. His work accomplishes this with masterful skill and a powerful inquiry into life in Cambodia and beyond.
Poetry builds fresh connections between the old and the new, and between the familiar and the unconventional. It is a sublime voice of the personality of the human being who makes the poem, and of those who read it with appreciation. Like all art, it is a form of experience. Seldom are these experiences generated in schools or homes across the world’s landscapes. In Cambodia, these experiences rarely exist.