Oeur Sokuntevy, a 23 year old independent artist, is determined to leave her mark on the Cambodian art scene. Inspired by the natural world as a child, she pursued her passion through art. She studied at Phare Ponleu Silapak in Battambang where she learned the important skills of pencil work, water color, oil painting etc. Through her studies, Sokuntevy felt compelled to carry on the traditional methods of Khmer painting, helping to preserve the culture that inspired the Angkor Wat civilization. Her attention to detail and patience allows her to execute the meticulous work required of Khmer traditional painting.
Frustrated by the lack of care for the old temple paintings, Sokuntevy uses torn pieces of paper then glues them back together in an effort to repair the past. She incorporates magical diagrams and text with flowers, straw and other natural materials with the background of paper, soaking it in coffee. The resulting layers of texture and cultural references evoke the ancient and complex history of traditional art in Cambodia. Each piece is then soaked a second time in recycled coffee grinds to give an appearance of an aged painting. The final piece transcends the traditional Khmer painting and becomes a tribute to the past while considering the future.
This body of work has taken more than nine months to complete. One painting can take up to two weeks. It is a time-consuming process that requires dedication and persistence—but one that Sokuntevy will continue in her pursuit of the true meaning of art.