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.

about the artist

Sokuntevy Oeur

Sokuntevy Oeur

Sokuntevy Oeur (b. 1983) is a female painter from Cambodia who is boldly leading the charge of the country’s emerging women’s art movement. At the forefront of her practice is an impassioned personal search to determine where, as an independent woman and artist, she can identify herself within contemporary Cambodian society and the natural world. Sokuntevy studied painting at the Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang and moved to Phnom Penh in 2007. Sokuntevy has had much interest in her work as one of the few female contemporary artists currently showing from Cambodia. Solo exhibitions include Love, Death and Dreams at Utterly Art (Singapore), Love to Death at the French Cultural Centre, I Curl in Memory’s Belly at Java Gallery in 2010, and Star Signs at Hotel De La Paix in 2008 (Cambodia). Group exhibitions include Me Love you Long Time at Boston Center for the Arts, 2013 (USA), Sightlines at Noel-Baza Fine Art Gallery, 2010 (USA), Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale (Korea) in 2009, and The Art of Survival, Meta House Gallery, 2008 (Cambodia). Sokuntevy’s work is included in private and public art collections including the Singapore Embassy (Cambodia) and the Singapore Art Museum.