The dream of breaking the cycle, reflections of hopeful futures, personal identities within social classes and hierarchies. Rena Chheang’s paintings investigate the lives of women in a Cambodian city, the condition of its inhabitants and their different and highly individual paths to development and happiness. The women portrayed in each of the paintings are naked and exposed showing frailty and vulnerability. The idea of being buried and suppressed echoes throughout her portraits and abstract pieces. Her canvas aims to be a visual poetry, a storytelling tool of the social and political awareness of a woman’s struggles; i.e domestic abuse, unequal rights, and forced labor. The colors are disorganized and chaotic, yet vibrant and fresh.
Even within turmoil, there is hope for change.
Art and everyday life, society and nature. Cambodia is filled with treasures to discover and savor. Its natural beauty is fresh, colorful, soothing, and mesmerizing. The artist uses her natural surroundings as a tool to navigate in life, finding inspiration in the mundane and in the little details emerging everywhere in her own country. The beauty of nature can be a powerful antidote for darkness, the corruption and poverty that surround us. But it’s also filled with struggle and fight for survival. A cactus has to endure the harshness of the sun and the coldness of the night, a daily courage that is all too close to us. The artworks shown here try to reflect and represent, despite social challenges, a truly Cambodian determination to thrive and flourish.
My City Collection
The dream of breaking the cycle, reflections of hopeful futures, personal identities within social classes and hierarchies. Rena Chheang’s paintings investigate the multitude of lives in a Cambodian city, the condition of its inhabitants and their different and highly individual paths to development and happiness. Stories of Buddhist monks, street kids or survivors of Khmer Rouge, her canvas aim to be a visual poetry about Cambodian society, a storytelling tool for a country in its process of growing up.
The Standing Rubble Collection
The Standing Rubble is a collection of six paintings on canvas of architectural iconic sites in the Capital
with the intent to explore the richness of Cambodia’s civilization before it collapsed.
“The Mansion” depicts the wealth in Cambodia. “The Post Office” built during the French Colonial period, was the focal point of all posts and telecommunications. “Central Market”, built in 1937, represents the height of commerce; when it was first open to the public it was known as “the biggest market in Asia”. “The Palace” points to the strong leadership of the Monarchs and the religious idealism within this country. “The Library” designed by a Cambodian architect, Vann Molyvann, (also known as the man who built Cambodia) represents the height of education and learning. “The Theater” explores the progress of art and culture. These six buildings are standing memorials of what the country was and can become. They are the pinnacle of wealth, relations, commerce, religion, education, and art. The beauties they hold give hope to generations of Cambodians who have been working hard to rebuild.
Paradise Within Collection
This exhibition was inspired by a book that I studied in University, called Paradise Lost. Paradise Lost is a detailed narrative about the fall. It touches on the creation of man, the fall of satan, and the fall of man. The blues greens and yellows represents serenity and tranquility. The reds and blacks showcase loneliness and brokenness one must overcome in order to find paradise within. These paintings focuses on the search for inner pease weather through acceptance, confession or avoidance. Each piece is explained through excerpts from the epic poem, Paradise Lost.