Sophal is the first SurVivArt artist to have finished her project. Soon we will be posting a video of the action she developed in her village. Previously, and during several days, she had interviewed several women from the village.
No rice for the pot
First public art installation in the Cambodian countryside
When I started my project many many questions came to me. Especially from my villagers from one to one I explained them. I don’t know how much they understood but I hope they will be clear when they work with me in the exhibition, and finish the project together.
On the opening day of the exhibition, I was very excited. I didn’t expect to have many people joining, and helping me. Especially the women in my village. I expected that only some women would come, not all. I thought they don’t believe me. Because I never went to their home to invite them to the exhibition; we never had an event like this in our village. When I asked them to paint the pots, they were afraid to paint the pots because they never painted in their life before. But after I showed them, they felt very happy and they felt very free to do what they want on their post. They played with their hands on the pots without being scared. They talked, they smiled – that is the action that I really wanted for all women.
When we built the pyramid, it was a little bit difficult, because I did not organize the structure of bamboo before. After we discussed, one women that I did not think that she can do (She came from very remote and she can not write and read. I did not know that she could build a pyramid structure). She happened to go to Siem Reap and there she saw people building structures like that. She suggested to all women how to build the structure in a strong shape. One thing I did not expected to happen, was that a few men came and helped the women to finish the pyramid. All man in the village thought that this event is only for women. But I invited all families for the lunch party. When the men saw that the women getting tired and had difficulties to build the pyramid, the men helped them. This is really what I wanted for my project: All women and all men are together to care and develop for the pyramid, which means for me to care together for the family and the society on a higher level.
After I finished my project, I feel nothing in my head. I just remember the event that I prepared by myself. It is the first exhibition in my life and in my village that give me a lot of experiences about how to work in public, how to start and how to finish an exhibition. Especially how to explain that people join a project like that. I hope my villagers just do not only remember this exhibition but they will understand what I wanted to do and what they want for a good life.
I wish, I will have another exhibition in the public again, in a place and with people I like.
– Neak Sophal, May 31, 2011