Artist narrative

An exhibition by OEUR Sokuntevy

Artist bio

OEUR Sokuntevy (Tevy) is a painter from Cambodia who is boldly leading the charge of the country’s emerging women’s art movement. Tevy is certainly not afraid to speak her mind or ask questions. 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. Her gender and professional status as an artist, coupled with her unrelentingly honest approach to her subject matter, are a rare and precious combination.

Tevy was born in the countryside and she studied at Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang where she developed her oil and watercolour painting and pencil skills. Her refined and highly individual painting style combines a modern approach with elements found in Cambodian art. Mostly acrylic on paper, the overall tone and rendering of her paintings speak of folk art. Her clearly defined shapes and the strong colours show her awareness and appreciation of her homeland’s history of art. In terms of her style, a surrealist dimension has become increasingly apparent and exaggerated.

Her choice of subjects and her unforgiving personal approach to issues she sees to be perceived as being the cornerstones of ‘female identity’, family and sexuality, make her a tour de force. Her latest works are resoundingly candid portrayals of her intimate relationships. At points showing tenderness, and at others, contempt, they show all sides of love, including what happens when it is no more. Displaying her willingness to discuss her sexuality, her latest works are tales told from her experience in her previous and current relationship.

Tevy's open and frank portraits on one level, push the boundaries of a conventional form of art practice to new limits with her unconventional and at times risqué subject matter. On another, whilst highly autobiographical in content, Tevy is asking more broadly what is Cambodia today, and what does it mean to be Cambodian? She cannot be alone in asking the questions, which are symptomatic of a greater struggle within the country of reconciling change and modernity with tradition. As such, she is firmly holding a mirror in front of contemporary society. In this, Tevy and her subjects are true spirits of the age.

(paraphrased text from Natalie Pace, independent curator)

Tevy’s work recently premiered in the US at Noel-Baza Fine Art Gallery in San Diego, CA, co-curated by Pierrette Van Cleve, Van Cleve Finearts. Solo exhibitions include Love to Death at the French Cultural Centre, I Curl in Memory’s Belly at Java Gallery in 2010, Family Ties at Java Gallery in 2009, and Star Signs at Hotel De La Paix in 2008 (Cambodia). Group exhibitions include Pharmacide, Meta House Gallery, 2010 (Cambodia), Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale (Korea) in 2009, The Art of Survival, Meta House Gallery, 2008 (Cambodia) and more. Tevy’s work is included in art collections of the Singapore Embassy (Cambodia) and the Singapore Art Museum. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Art Asia Pacific, Asialife, Cambodge Soir, Phnom Penh Post, The Cambodia Daily and the Southeast Asia Globe Magazine.

OEUR Sokuntevy
08 September - 03 November 2011

Hôtel de la Paix > Arts Lounge > LOVE, DEATH, DREAMS