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Artist Statement

In my work I address contemporary social issues. I am very much at home in my own time and comfortable with the many lifestyles and perspectives that coexist in today's world. My work expresses an awareness of my role in this developing and active world full of possibilities, but laden with contradictions and paradoxes. The issues raised by my work reveal the fascinating, rich and complex appearance of culture, both global and particularly local, endlessly repetitive and endlessly differentiated.

While the visual sense is the dominant dimension of this world, sight is inextricably linked to all forms of perception. In such a world paint provides only a singular dimensional understanding - paint is only one of several possible and equally interesting creative mediums. As a result, I respond by dealing with many forms of media that provide me with inspiration and voice.

My commitment to the art community of Cambodia and to those of the Cambodian diasporas overseas is a reflection of my own understanding of identity. While identity is an important part of my work, the limitations of "khmerness" once lead to censorship and a genocide of unthinkable proportions. Thus, while much of my work is filled with a sense of the local, it is about more than promoting a Cambodian identity and empowering a culture, it is about free expression wherever you are. For me, Cambodian art should be considered as contemporary art and not simply as a nationalistic endeavor or as a testament to Western imposed ideas of the "exotic".

--Saphan, 2008