Saturday, January 3, 2009

Svay Ken has his say

A father's advice to his children by Svay Ken, painted in July 2008
Svay Ken's paintings of a series of Buddha's teachings have a raw, naive quality to them as the artist himself provided a commentary to each of the paintings to which he had added the basic precept in Khmer language, in a documentary produced by Erin Gleeson on behalf of the Bophana Center, where the half-hour film was shown on Saturday afternoon. Svay Ken knew that this work would be some of his last, they were completed just prior to his death in December, so he described in great detail the moral and behaviour behind each painting. It was a fitting tribute to a man who had discovered his artistic streak late in life but was very clear in the message he wanted to convey in his paintings.
"When you are rich and famous, do not look down on your poor relatives and friends"
"Continually improve your knowledge, do not be lazy or ignorant"
The artist Svay Ken provides a running commentary to this series of paintings on the teachings of Buddha

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Blogger Ron said...

My parents and many Cambodians abroad would love this doc...I'm assuming he speaks in Khmer and it's subtitled--with his voice still audible? I gotta' get a copy.

January 4, 2009 at 1:53 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi Ron,
yes its in Khmer, Svay Ken speaks in a how can I say it...a distinquished way about a subject he obviously feels passionately about. There were perhaps a dozen paintings and morals/stories which he related one after the other. The film was made by the Bophana Center I believe as a tribute to this leading 'folk style' artist, in the knowledge that his health was deteriorating, though he looks quite sprightly on the film itself.

January 4, 2009 at 2:39 AM  
Blogger mrklatham said...

Are there copies available of his stuff?
Are there any originals for sale?
Can you mail me andy?
Chmuah Humphrey-

January 4, 2009 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

I believe all of his available works are being collected together by his family for a future exhibition. I think he was quite prolific so there must be Svay Ken paintings out there that are available to buy. However you'd better be quick as his paintings will now take on a higher currency after his recent passing.

January 4, 2009 at 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi andy,
its great i see that some are interested in both svay ken's work and the documentary. i wanted to clarify regarding this. the documentary will be edited to its final format in the coming months and it will be released by bophana after that. i'll let you know when.
as for this series of paintings, the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane Australia bought 6 pieces for their permanent collection and will show these in the 6th Asia-Pacific Art Triennial in December 2009. The remaining six are currently not for sale. I am working with the Svay family to establish a foundation and market price for his works. Although I'm sure you are right- many people bought many works and as the value has increased the works may come out of the woodwork for informal sales. Sotheby's tool a peek at Svay Ken's work last night at the opening of :Forever Until Now:Contemporary Art From Cambodia: now showing in Hong Kong for a couple months. 14 Cambodian artists. That's all for now. I look forward to meeting you one day.
erin gleeson

February 14, 2009 at 11:28 AM  

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