Photographing the Soul of Cambodia: Interview with Sophal Neak by Francesca Masoero, 04/07/2017 in ArtAsiaPacific
Sophal Neak was born in Takeo, a province in southern Cambodia, in 1989. Since 2011, her works—in particular her photographs—have been showcased across Asia, Europe and Australia. Her unique and uncompromising take on history and people, as well as her distinctive and powerful vision, has played an important role in contributing to the cultural re-awakening of her country. In an interview with ArtAsiaPacific, the photographer discusses her art and creative processes, her take on gender in Cambodia and more.
“Flowers,” your most recent exhibition, is currently being showcased in Phnom Penh, but your work has travelled quite a bit across the globe. How do you feel about the fact that your photographs are allowing more people to get to know Cambodia?
Allowing people outside Cambodia to understand the complexity of my country is really important, but I’d actually like my work to serve as a certain reminder for the Khmer people as well. Most Cambodians tend to stick with the traditional culture and perceptions. This includes, for example, that women have to be young and beautiful, or that they have to cook and have children. By drawing attention to these concepts in my work, I try to raise the awareness of viewers and invite them to move forward from these ideas.