Khvay Samnang: Popil, and Preah Kunlong (The way of the spirit)

Khvay Samnang: Popil, and Preah Kunlong (The way of the spirit)
2nd - 12th Nov 2021 Tramway View map Film Visual Arts

Tuesday 2 - Friday 12 November, 12 - 5pm
Tuesday 2 November - 3 - 7pm
Saturday 6 November - CLOSED
Monday 8 November - CLOSED

Ahead of Khavy Samnang’s immersive exhibition in Tramway's main gallery, and as part of our COP26 programme, Tramway presents a chance to engage with Khvay’s recent film works; Popil (2018), and Preah Kunlong (The way of the spirit) (2016-17).

In these works Khvay critically interrogates the multidimensional character of rituals and politics; exposing the humanitarian and ecological impacts of globalization and the accompanying waves of colonialism and migration which continually demarcate and define the spaces and temporalities of Southeast Asia.

Popil develops a complex dance choreography based around the symbolism of the dragon. It both plays towards the Western tendency to employ the motif as a blanket symbol for much of East/Southeast Asia, as well as allows for an examination of the manner in which such iconography speaks towards a specifically Chinese or Cambodian mode of identity formation.
Running time 22 min 

Preah Kunlong (The way of the spirit), documents Khvay Samnang lasting relationship with the Chong people where from 2016-17 he embedded himself in their communities for a non-consecutive period of one year. The Chong people live in the southwestern Koh Kong province of Cambodia, primarily in the Areng Valley. As part of the last great forest in Cambodia, Areng Valley itself is marked by the geopolitical threat of environmental devastation, due to the development of a large hydroelectric dam (Cheay Areng Dam). 

Preah Kunlong charts the time in which Khvay grew to understand the way the Chong people map their land as a method founded on ancestral and oral histories, meaning that the spiritual territory of the Areng Valley forest is determined through the incorporation of their stories and histories. The research and the production of objects such as masks and costumes is imbued with spiritual beliefs, political concerns, and everyday life.
Running time 18min 43sec