An artist who uses his body to show the message – Khvay Samnang

Cambodian artist Khvay Samnang (b.1982) not only looks at the social welfare and human rights issues in his homeland, he also gets physically involved by submerging his lower body in lakes and pouring sand over his head to mimic property developers’ moves to fill up lakes and turning a blind eye to the “small and negligible” dwellers who are still living by the lake or in stilt houses above the lake.

20150215_111813 khvay samnang lake filling series artscience museum

Digital C-Print
80 x 120cm
ArtScience Museum, Singapore

“He offers new interpretations of history, longstanding cultural practices, and contentious current affairs. The artist works like an anthropologist, quietly observing subtleties within Cambodian society in order to post questions of their affects.” – exhibition wall text, Prudential Eye 2015, ArtScience Museum

Samnang goes down to the ground, both figuratively and literally, to show the plight and the stories of people on the ground that have often been carpeted over by promising news of yet another development or major infrastructure investment in the country, showing the world how much the country has progressed, etc, etc.

Watch below the interview with him by Singapore Biennale 2013 where his untitled work of a five-channel video & sound (2011-2013) was shown. More works by Samnang here.