Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cambodia Celebrates Khmer Visual Arts

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Cambodia has celebrated the achievements and developments of “Khmer Visual Arts: 30 years of Survival and Development.” More than 700 government officials from the National Assembly of Cambodia, the Senate, artists, writers, film actors, film producers, students, researchers, and music composers attended the national seminar.

The event of the Khmer Visual Arts was conducted over two days from the 21st to the 22nd July 2009 at the Chaktomuk Conference Hall in Phnom Penh, organized by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA). Prime Minister Hun Sen made closing remarks on the end of the second day. He said that 30 years after liberation from the Pol Pot regime, Khmer Visual Arts continue to thrive and Cambodia has become the natural center for the preservation of old and the production of new Khmer art.

“Khmer Visual Arts represent the culture, colors and identity of Cambodian people and the artist is therefore the soul of the people. To preserve and develop the arts for future generations, they must be organized, recorded or published and inserted into study curriculums of pupils and students at primary schools and high schools across the country,” he said.

The Premier said the development of the Khmer visual arts should occur within the scope of culture and traditions and reflect the colors, identities, ideas and visions of Cambodians. He added that future visions of development should depend on ancient culture and national traditions. He also said there should be a reduction in the quantity of foreign culture on radios and television. All of these ideals are in accordance with national cultural policies that focus on culture protection, conservation and promotion, said Hun Sen.

The Premier called on the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the Ministry of Information to work closely with each other in producing and collating the achievements of the nation’s artists. He also called on the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and Ministry of Tourism to promote the works for the sake of bringing in extra tourist earnings.

Men Sam An, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister, said that during the Khmer Rouge time, the majority of the nation’s intellectuals including teachers, experts and artists were executed or died of starvation. However, after Victory Day, 7 January 1979, the resistance movement gathered the remaining people who had some artistic background to give them training in visual, musical and performing arts. She said this strategy allowed the government to preserve traditional culture during the Pol Pot regime.

Sam An pointed out that for the past 30 years, the development of the cultural sector has been successful. She said that Khmer arts have played a significant role in promoting tourism in Cambodia.

Him Chhem, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, agreed. He added that his ministry also plans to organize a “Nationwide Khmer Visual Arts Theatre” in order to celebrate “National Cultural Day” on March 3, 2010 in Phnom Penh. ////

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