The Hawker's Song is one of the first major video art works to be made in and about Cambodia. It was created through an international collaboration between Cambodian artists Srey Bandol and Meas Sokhorn and Australian artists Keith Deverell and Sue McCauley, with sound tracks composed and performed by Corey Sands and Keith Deverell (SONE). The Hawker's Song was commissioned for the Visual Arts Program of the Melbourne International Arts Festival 2010.
The Hawker’s Song was co-produced by JavaArts (Cambodia) and Greyspace (Australia). It was funded by arts grants from the Australian Council for the Arts, Arts Victoria, City of Melbourne, City of Greater Dandenong, Greyspace, JavaArts and sponsored by The Belgrave Group.
The Hawker's Song focuses on the lives of Cambodian street hawkers, their songs, their daily hardships and the effects of urban development and modernisation on their lives. Framed in both HD Video and Standard 8 film, the work draws on notions of past and present, of the traditional and the modern. It investigates through poetic sound and image compositions the clash between rapid urban development represented in this project by new shopping malls and multi-storey office blocks and traditional modes of commerce and communication represented by the oral traditions of street hawkers selling their wares in the streets of the city. The project themes are universal. The local issues found in Phnom Penh are similarly of concern in Melbourne. The competing interests of modernisation and the maintenance of unique culture of communities are concerns that are relevant to people in cities all over the world.
The project has been designed to be used in different exhibition and performance contexts. In Cambodia for the Our City Festival it was presented as a gallery exhibition and a live sound/image performance. In The Melbourne International Arts Festival it is presented as a large-scale public screen installation, a rear-projection into the window of an operating laundrette, and two different public sound installations.