Durational performance over six days with 40 clay pots

The public was invited to observe a durational performance by artist Amy Lee Sanford.  Amy, who first returned to Cambodia in 2005 in search of her family and heritage, investigates this process through her artwork.  Initially working with sculptural works that were created by breaking and reassembling panes of glass, this work focuses on the act itself.

Full Circle is a piece that is forged over time.  Sitting amid a circle of 40 Kompong Chhnang clay pots, Amy broke and meticulously glued each pot back together, over the course of six days.  After each pot was glued, she used string to hold the pieces together, before returning the pot to the circle.  This repetition of breaking and remaking brings attention to cycles of trauma, both personal and historical.  Full Circle is a meditative and introspective performance, one that reflects the slow, complex process of mending and transforming.  For the artist, the physical and mental challenge of maintaining the concentration and patience to carry out the task was an integral part of the piece.

The artist states: “Aiding the evolution of emotional stagnation and unburdening oneself from the past is the focus of my artwork.  I create art in order to observe, examine and transform the lasting effects of war, including trauma, loss, displacement and guilt.  Throughout this process, I have discovered movement masked by rigidity, simplicity within complexity and turbulence overlapping harmony.  The process of making art helps me transform these universal aspects of life into a new vitality.”

Amy Lee Sanford, born in Cambodia, draws on a multi-faceted background when creating her artwork.  She studied Visual Art at Brown University, with concentrated study in Engineering and Biology. She also studied ceramics at the Rhode Island School of Design, University of Massachusetts and Harvard.  Her work has been exhibited internationally and she has received awards and recognition in art, science and literature. 

Co-produced by the artist and JavaArts

Performance space provided by Meta House


about the artist

Amy Lee Sanford

Amy Lee Sanford (b. 1972, Cambodia) is a Cambodian-American visual artist working in both two and three dimensions, and performance. Her work explores the evolution of emotional stagnation, and the lasting psychological effects of war, including aspects of guilt, loss, alienation, and displacement. Watching and experiencing the difficulties of the Lon Nol era, her father arranged for Amy to live with his American wife, in the United States. In July, 1974, nine months before the Khmer Rouge took full control of the country, Barbara arrived in Phnom Penh for Amy. Amid rocket launches and raids, Barbara and infant Amy left Cambodia. Amy grew up in the northeastern US.

At Brown University, Amy studied art, science, and engineering. She furthered her art studies with individual courses at The Rhode Island School of Design, University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth and Harvard University. She started up an artisan company, where she designed and fabricated handmade, tessellated, porcelain tiles and mosaics for residential and commercial interiors. Amy lives and works in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (