Artist narrative

An exhibition of decommissioned weapons sculpted into human forms, animals and icons of the Khmer heritage. An inspiring exhibition reflecting ties between past and present Cambodia.

After almost half a century of suffering the devastating effects of foreign occupation, invasion, civil war and genocide, Cambodia’s cultural heritage risked being lost forever. The Pol Pot Regime had destroyed almost every aspect of society, wiping out education and crushing all forms of artistic expression.

When conflict finally ceased, the Khmer people faced the immense task of reconciling the effects of war and rebuilding the nation. Between 1999 and 2004, the government aided by the European Union Assistance on Curbing Small Arms (EU ASAC) decommissioned more than 125,000 weapons in public ceremonies as a statement of peace and hope.

Since then a group of artists from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh have taken their own stand for peace in a process of artful disarmament. In 2003, British artist Sasha Constable co-founded Peace Art Project Cambodia (PAPC), which gave twenty-three students the opportunity to build powerful, fascinating sculptures from weapons donated by the government, EU ASAC, HALO Trust and MAG. These young artists have transformed thousands of deadly weapons into more than 200 works of art.

'The weapons sculptures created during the Peace Art Project Cambodia are an outstanding showcase of the emerging and developing artistic talent in Cambodia. At a time when Cambodia nationally, and the global community internationally, face a great many challenges the concept of the work conveys a poignant message of peace,’ says Sasha Constable.

"Building Peace"
Artists from the Royal University of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh
12 October - 22 November 2006

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