Thursday, May 7, 2009

Passing the family baton

This painting, My Grandfather Teaching Me How, says it all, by Ouk Sochivy
It all started on Sunday when three generations of Em Theay's family performed together at the benefit screening at Bophana and carried on this evening with two more events that I attended. Again at Bophana, the first-ever solo exhibition of paintings called To Be Continued by Ouk Sochivy kicked-off tonight with a healthy crowd in support of the 25-year-old artist. Chivy is the granddaughter of the legendary self-taught painter Svay Ken who died at the end of last year, and who taught and encouraged Chivy to begin painting in the middle of last year. Adopting an almost identical style to her grandfather, she has more than 30 paintings in this exhibition ranging from still life to fashion trends to eight paintings documenting the end of Svay Ken's life. Whilst the painting style won't be everyone's cup of tea, she is certainly carrying the Svay Ken baton and continuing his unique artform and technique. I left the exhibition at 7pm to make my way to the riverfront and the Chinese House just in time to catch an hour of chapei legend Kong Nai and his son, Kong Boran, performing together as a family unit, for another big crowd. Despite his blindness, Kong Nai is teaching his son though it was noticeable that Kong Boran has a sweeter voice than his father and adopts a slightly different singing style too. It is always a pleasure to see Kong Nai perform as he gives his all and flashes his brilliant white teeth as his way of acknowledging his enjoyment in performing and bringing this improvised form of music to a wider audience.

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Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

For a recent look back on the life of Svay Ken, read this article in Fah Thai, the inflight magazine of Bangkok Airways:

May 8, 2009 at 9:46 AM  

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