SEASON OF CAMBODIA Festival Lights Up New York City's Cultural Scene, April-May 2013
New York City will host more than 125 artists from Cambodia for a major celebration of Cambodian arts, culture, and humanities when Season of Cambodia lights up the city's cultural landscape in April and May 2013. Distinctive works from master and emerging artists and scholars-in ritual, music, visual arts, performance, dance, shadow puppetry, film, and academic forums-will be presented by 30 of New York's most renowned arts and educational institutions, marking an unprecedented city-wide partnership initiative to celebrate one of the world's most vibrant and evocative cultures.
Season of Cambodia will run from Saturday April 6 to Friday May 31, 2013, with opening ceremonies scheduled to coincide with Cambodian New Year on Saturday, April 13. Leading cultural and educational institutions as varied as Asia Society, BAM, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Parsons The New School for Design, Mark Morris Dance Group and Arts Brookfield will participate in Season of Cambodia.
This historic collaboration featuring pioneering artists and organizations from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap comes at a critical moment in Cambodia's artistic revival. Only one generation ago the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979) set out to eliminate the artists and intellectuals who comprised Cambodia's flourishing artistic community; as many as 90 percent of them died. As a "living arts" festival, Season of Cambodia will serve as an international platform that not only promotes opportunities for cultural and artistic expression in a country where half of the population is under the age of 25, but also helps pave the way for long-term partnerships between members of Cambodia's burgeoning arts community and pre-eminent artists and cultural institutions in New York City.
Season of Cambodia is an initiative of Cambodian Living Arts, a non-profit organization based in Phnom Penh and the U.S. founded in 1998 by artist and Khmer Rouge survivor Arn Chorn-Pond. Once focused on the critical task of preserving endangered artists and traditional art forms in the country, Cambodian Living Arts today collaborates with Cambodian artists and organizations, serving as a catalyst to help develop and foster arts in Cambodia.
"When I first returned to Cambodia in the 90's after the Paris Peace Accord, my friends and I were finding master teachers living on the streets- poor, weak, without food and basic health care," said Chorn-Pond, whose efforts to preserve his country's oral traditions have been chronicled in the PBS documentary The Flute Player and in the recent book, Never Fall Down (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins Publishers), which was recently nominated for a National Book Award. "The work that Cambodian Living Arts and so many other partner arts organizations have done over the past 20 years has been to rescue and preserve the traditions of these great masters, to pass on the art forms, and to train the younger generations so that Cambodian arts and culture can continue to thrive."
"Moving forward from the initial urgencies of rescuing and preserving Cambodian arts," Phloeun Prim, the Executive Director of Cambodian Living Arts and Season of Cambodia says, "we're now engaging with some of the most important and pioneering arts organizations in Cambodia. The energy and commitment of our partners on both sides of the world has been simply overwhelming, and I look forward to this truly international collaboration which is sure to have long term impact on the growth and development of the arts in Cambodia for generations to come."
"By bringing artists and audiences together to celebrate Cambodia's rich cultural heritage, this extraordinary festival reminds us that the arts are the foundation of a more open, creative, and compassionate society" said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin. "I applaud Cambodian Living Arts for pioneering this dynamic partnership with some of New York's remarkable cultural groups, and look forward to the exciting performances, discussions, and exhibitions that will take place across the City during the Season of Cambodia festival next spring."
The Season of Cambodia line-up will feature an exciting range of public events throughout New York City. Theater and dance performances will include critically acclaimed performers and companies such as the Royal Ballet of Cambodia accompanied by HRH Princess Norodom Buppha Devi at BAM; Wat Bo Shadow Puppets at Arts Brookfield; Sophiline Cheam Shapiro and Khmer Arts Ensemble presented by The Joyce Theater; and Amrita Performing Arts presented at Abrons Art Center and at Works & Process at the Guggenheim. Rubin Museum of Art will host a Cambodian New Year's celebration featuring ritual and sacred music.
Cambodian music, ranging from rock-and-roll to folk music to contemporary chamber compositions, will be heard during the festival, with world-renowned musicians Dengue Fever and Chinary Ung in separate programs at Le Poisson Rouge and Champei Dong Veng master Kong Nay playing his traditional long-necked guitar at Asia Society.
Internationally renowned contemporary artists, Sopheap Pich, Seckon Leang, and Rattana Vandy will be featured in exhibitions and public programs alongside emerging visual artists. Artist residencies and exhibitions of contemporary Cambodian art will be hosted by Asia Society, Bose Pacia, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Residency Unlimited, and Tyler Rollins Fine Art.
Provocative humanities events exploring themes such as cultural memory, art history, and the diaspora, as well as discussions on creative communities and urban development will be hosted by institutions including Asia Society, Cornell University, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, New York University's Asian-Pacific American Institute, Parsons The New School for Design, and Rutgers University Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Columbia University.
Master classes of Cambodian court dance will be offered through Mark Morris Dance Group as well as at DANY studios, while master Kong Nay will collaborate with students and faculty of Jazz at the New School.
Season of Cambodia is co-chaired by Anne H. Bass, John Burt, and Darren Walker. Lead support comes from the Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and The Kaplen Foundation. Additional support comes from Asian Cultural Council, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Henry Luce Foundation, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation.
For more information, please visit the official website at www.seasonofcambodia.org.
The line-up of events and exhibitions, which is subject to change, follows. New programs and events will be added as they are confirmed.