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.