Connect with us

Art

Cambodia is an inspiration for the healing power of art after a crisis – The Conversation CA

Published

 on


Even though history has seen different disasters and humanitarian crises, one fact remains: we try to understand what is happening by seeing how others coped, comparing our reaction to theirs. These comparisons allow us to shed light on the best practices for managing or emerging from a crisis.

We note with the COVID-19 pandemic that there is not one response to crises, but many responses that are adapted and implemented through trial and error.

At the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid our team was interested in a few examples where art and culture have been used to encourage development at the social, community, economic and civic level in various countries, including Haiti and Cambodia.

Cambodia is a special case. It was able to use art and culture to find a way to rebuild itself after the genocide that began in 1975 and ended with the fall of the Pol Pot regime in 1979. While the context is different, is there a way we can draw inspiration from the Cambodian example to recover from the current health crisis?

Art and culture in crisis

First of all, what do we mean by “crisis?” Are we simply referring to the health aspect?

Our government decision-makers have categorized the current period as a “war” against an invisible enemy. But a war leaves after-effects that are not only structural but social, societal and humanitarian as well. Also, as in armed conflicts, this “health war” has imposed a front line in hospitals and seniors’ residences.

In times of war, art and culture, which are important pillars of our societies, are hit hard and sometimes even strategically destroyed.

The rebirth of art in Cambodia

Cambodia has a long and rich history dating back to before the Middle Ages. It was during the golden age of the Khmer Empire (between the ninth and 13th centuries) that arts and culture became integrated into society through religion, rites and customs.

However, for recent generations, this rich Cambodian culture with its oral tradition was greatly affected by the genocide under the tyrannical Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. At this time, arts and culture almost completely disappeared, as did nearly 20 per cent of the population (between 1.7 million to 3 million people), exterminated by Pol Pot’s dictatorship. The dictatorship fell from power in 1979. Instability and conflict remained for some 20 years.

In 1998, after Pol Pot’s last uprising in 1997, Arn Chorn-Pond founded the Cambodian Master Performer Program, which became Cambodian Living Arts, in order to restore art to its former glory. Born in Cambodia into a family of genocide survivors, he studied in the United States and worked as a social worker there for a few years before returning to Cambodia.

Today, Cambodian Living Arts brings together several hundred artists and employees working at different levels including arts education and heritage protection as well as the development of tomorrow’s leaders, markets and strong networks.

This non-profit organization uses art and culture to fulfil its mission of healing trauma, safeguarding traditions, restoring meaning to the community and training young people to contribute to the development of the country. It now has an expanded ecosystem of partners in other parts of the world.

As Phloeun Prim, the non-profit’s current executive director, explains, the destruction of cultural symbols and artifacts, such as religious and cultural sites, monuments and works of art, is an integral part of the consequences of conflict. The oppressor, be it another country or a dictator, will seek to uproot the oppressed group from its identity, culture and societal vision.

A brutal stop with the pandemic

Although it hasn’t destroyed infrastructure, the global pandemic has hit the cultural sector hard with the closure of theatres and cinemas, bans on mass gatherings and the cancelling of festivals. The performing arts, visual arts and access to heritage often appear to have been last to be considered in reopenings while workers dependent on the gig economy have lost many opportunities.




Read more:
Support for artists is key to returning to vibrant cultural life post-coronavirus


In compensation, the federal and provincial governments have offered some assistance to the sector to survive and to develop.

However, as we can see with the debate around opening performance venues, economic measures are not enough for everyone and do not guarantee that the public will be there. The abrupt and prolonged halt in cultural activities, as well as the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19 contamination, suggest that there will be repercussions for a long time to come. A strategy of cultural regeneration supported by our governments and strong institutions, such as the Cambodian Living Arts in Cambodia, should be considered.

This regeneration work was essential for Cambodia’s recovery. Added to this was the need to transmit culture in order to rebuild bridges between generations, between individuals and between institutions. To share one’s art orally does not only mean passing on know-how. It also means passing on people skills.

Master Ling Srey teaching Kantaoming, traditional Cambodian music used at funerals, in Siem Reap province, Cambodia.
(Matthew Wakem), Author provided

By teaching his art, the master transmits his identity to the other. And the student has the duty to appropriate this knowledge in order to take it further and create his own interpretation of the symbols. This is what creates more resilient societies.

Today, Cambodian Living Arts continues to invest in current and future cultural leaders. They are the ones who will have to rebuild in the new post-crisis environment, where interactions, communities and identities will no longer be the same.

Reaching out to the public

At home in Québec, for example, we see local initiatives. TD Bank and Vidéotron have partnered to present musical performances on outdoor stages, in a “drive-in movie” format, where spectators can enjoy the event in their vehicles.

Others choose to travel to people. This is the case of the Théâtre de la Ville, in Longueuil near Montréal, which offers a travelling program of three shows. In this way, art met the public, a bit like street theatre, at the beginning of the confinement. Similarly, Le Festif, in Charlevoix, offers immersive listening sessions outdoors.

Teaching and propagating culture is about coming together and finding each other. Moreover, as noted by the UNESCO International Bureau of Education, every human being is capable, through art, of re-establishing their link with society.

Finding a new normal

Our approach to art, culture and artist-citizen interactions will change in the new post-COVID reality. We will have to relearn, trust each other and then let ourselves forge new ways while respecting the rules.

A study by Habo studio shows that the return to “normalcy” in the consumption of the arts is not coming soon. It will take at least until 2021 (and perhaps 2022, according to some decision-makers in the field) before attendance levels return to pre-COVID levels, at least for the Montréal region.

As Québec’s rules for indoor and outdoor gatherings now vary regionally, the cultural sector continues to explore virtual or outdoor alternatives, and stay attuned to health regulations. Like us, it will be seeking to define its new normal.

Phloeun Prim, Executive Director of Cambodian Living Arts, co-authored this story.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

Art-loving couple helping Bayfield arts hub get off the ground – Toronto Star

Published

 on


A Bayfield-based arts non-profit is moving forward with plans for an arts centre in the Huron County community, thanks to a large donation from a local couple.

The Bayfield Centre for the Arts (BCA) has purchased a building on the village’s edge that will be transformed into a 1,115-square-metre visual arts hub.

“The concept of a Bayfield arts centre had been cooking for several years, but I wanted to formalize the vision . . . in terms of acquiring a building and bringing together a number of art organizations under one roof,” said centre president Leslee Squirrell.

Squirrell said the new facility will include an art gallery to showcase local artists and travelling exhibits, plus studio spaces and rooms for workshops.

A variety of arts will be featured, from new media and photography to painting, pottery and woodworking.

“We do have a big vision,” Squirrell said. “Even though the centre itself might be located in Bayfield, the purpose is to be a destination arts centre. It’s for the broader local community and those all over the county.”

Purchase of the building, at Highway 21 and Cameron Street, was made possible by a “significant financial donation” from Huron County residents Mac Voisin and Marcela Bahar.

“This state-of-the-art facility will benefit generations to come,” Voisin said. “(We are) delighted to be part of this project.”

Along with educational workshops and art showcases, Squirrell said they plan a mobile art truck that will let the centre take programming on the road across the region.

A film festival is also in the works, spurred on by the recent shooting of the movie Trigger Point in Bayfield.

The film’s director, Brad Turner, lives in the Lake Huron village seasonally and is a BCA adviser, Squirrell said.

The centre now uses a converted barn on Bayfield’s Main Street as a temporary home.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has been holding outdoor painting and photography workshops.

“We’re doing the best we can to continue to create our vision even though COVID has created obstacles,” Squirrell said.

Loading…

Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…

She said the picturesque village is the perfect backdrop for a Southwestern Ontario arts hub, since it’s already a popular tourist destination with many local artists nearby.

“We’re an incredibly beautiful, ideal, creative type of community on Lake Huron,” Squirrell said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

Art-loving couple helping Bayfield arts hub get off the ground – WellandTribune.ca

Published

 on


A Bayfield-based arts non-profit is moving forward with plans for an arts centre in the Huron County community, thanks to a large donation from a local couple.

The Bayfield Centre for the Arts (BCA) has purchased a building on the village’s edge that will be transformed into a 12,000-square-foot (1,115-square-metre) visual arts hub.

“The concept of a Bayfield arts centre had been cooking for several years, but I wanted to formalize the vision . . . in terms of acquiring a building and bringing together a number of art organizations under one roof,” said centre president Leslee Squirrell.

Squirrell said the new facility will include an art gallery to showcase local artists and travelling exhibits, plus studio spaces and rooms for workshops.

A variety of arts will be featured, from new media and photography to painting, pottery and woodworking.

“We do have a big vision,” Squirrell said. “Even though the centre itself might be located in Bayfield, the purpose is to be a destination arts centre. It’s for the broader local community and those all over the county.”

Purchase of the building, at Highway 21 and Cameron Street, was made possible by a “significant financial donation” from Huron County residents Mac Voisin and Marcela Bahar.

“This state-of-the-art facility will benefit generations to come,” Voisin said. “(We are) delighted to be part of this project.”

Along with educational workshops and art showcases, Squirrell said they plan a mobile art truck that will let the centre take programming on the road across the region.

A film festival is also in the works, spurred on by the recent shooting of the movie Trigger Point in Bayfield.

The film’s director, Brad Turner, lives in the Lake Huron village seasonally and is a BCA adviser, Squirrell said.

The centre now uses a converted barn on Bayfield’s Main Street as a temporary home.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has been holding outdoor painting and photography workshops.

“We’re doing the best we can to continue to create our vision even though COVID has created obstacles,” Squirrell said.

She said the picturesque village is the perfect backdrop for a Southwestern Ontario arts hub, since it’s already a popular tourist destination with many local artists nearby.

“We’re an incredibly beautiful, ideal, creative type of community on Lake Huron,” Squirrell said.

Loading…

Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…

maxmartin@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/MaxatLFPress

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

Cycling art tour offers outdoor engagement | The Star – Toronto Star

Published

 on


Cyclists and art lovers across Richmond can participate in a cycling art tour developed by the city.

Part of the #RichmondHasHeart campaign, the tour aims to bring Richmondites together safely while maintaining physical distancing protocols. City staff said the activity was developed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to invite community members to engage with and access the arts in meaningful ways—while staying safe. The program is free, self-guided and contactless, and is available to participants on their own or in small groups.

“Public art is important because it creates civic pride, a sense of place, urban beautification, livability, cultural interpretation and sustainability for residents and visitors of Richmond,” says city public art planner Biliana Velkova.

The self-guided tour begins at City Centre Community Centre and takes participants through 12 public art exhibits. It is about 12 kilometres long and takes an hour and a half. Many of the art pieces included in the tour demonstrate the power and resilience of community, connection, togetherness, home and place, according to city staff. The pandemic provides a unique lens through which to view these works.

Velkova says the city often develops similar self-led cultural events, particularly those that engage with the public art collection.

“As our collection grows, we are always programming different ways to experience it,” she says.

Find more information on public art in the city go to www.richmond.ca/culture/publicart/guides.htm

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending