Applications open for the CLA cultural season

2023 CLA Scholars Noemmilia Born and Chanborey Soy. The Nary Soul

The cultural season program, initiated by Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) in 2018, is a collection of performances, including art exhibitions, musical performances, workshops, plays, lectures and short documentaries.

Yon Sokhorn, CLA’s director of artistic development, noted in a recent interview with The Post that it’s actually an annual program, but the organization couldn’t hold it in 2019 and 2020 in due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “That means next year’s event will be our fourth,” she said.

Sokhorn said the program had two main goals. First, it is a platform to showcase artists’ talents and creative ideas through stories relevant to Cambodian society today.

She said most of the works are created by young artists and her organization acts as a channel for their voices to be heard.

Secondly, the program is a place where artists, cultural and artistic operators have the opportunity to express themselves and exchange ideas on different topics.

Each year the program runs under a different theme, and the CLA encourages all artists to create new work based on the theme and submit them to its “Open Call for New Creations”.

“Each year we have a different theme, which is used to guide the focus of program activities and events. In 2023, it will be held under the theme “Your Kind, Our Kind”. So all work and discussion will be in line with this topic,” she said.

Sokhorn added that 2023 will be slightly different from previous years. In the past, the organization designed its own program, but this time it has selected three recipients for the Curatorial Fellowships, and they will design and organize the program.

The main objective of the fellowship is to train the three fellows in event management skills. They will work with industry leaders when planning next year’s program.

“The three grantees will be responsible for choosing the themes, works and activities that will make up next year’s event. They will also work with us to promote the program. They recently went on a study trip to Chiang Mai and Bangkok, where they visited local artistic and cultural sites,” she added.

Content Image - Phnom Penh Post

Serei Vankosaun, curator member of CLA 2023. The nary soul

Serei Vankosaun, one of three artists who received a scholarship, said the curatorial scholarship program had not been tried before in Cambodia, but she received a lot of training from CLA. There is also a facilitator who guides the work of the trio.

“We spoke with artists in Thailand who organize their own events, and then heard from many experienced event planners in Cambodia. It’s really exciting to be able to put what we’ve learned into practice,” she said.

Also a civil servant at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) and a classical artist, Vankosaun explained why she and her group chose the theme “Your Kind, Our Kind”.

She said they first looked at the experiences of those around them – in the art world and in society at large – and wanted to raise questions related to different personalities.

“There is a negative mindset in Cambodian society towards non-conformist individuals. They are often discriminated against both in themselves and in their skills. We believe that this topic will be open to everyone to participate and share their views. This will be true from the perspective of the performers as well as the audience,” she said.

With that in mind, she encouraged artists to apply for the open call for new creations, saying it would challenge artists to try new things and experiment with their own skills.

The four works will be selected for performances next February in Phnom Penh and in March in the provinces. Artists can receive up to $5,000 in funding for digital works and $4,000 for live performances.

If an artist has a new idea and would like to present or perform something related to the theme “Your Kind, Our Kind”, they can submit their application any time before August 15th.

Sokhorn said, “If we look at our context, Cambodian artists are already creative, they just lack funding to realize some of their ideas. Instead of searching for existing works, we strive to encourage artists to create new works that fit our theme.

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