Approaches to the Study of Khmer and Cham Art: a Research Workshop with Tran Ky Phuong and Soumya James, 16/05/2017, CSEAS, SOAS.
Scholarship on ancient Khmer and Cham art evolved concomitantly with the French colonial project, and has long been grounded in archaeological and epigraphic study. This workshop presents new currents of research expanding the field. Tran Ky Phuong is the leading scholar of Cham art. After a first curatorial career at the Danang Museum of Cham Sculpture, he joined the Vietnam Association of Ethnic Minorities’ Culture and Arts, where he has launched research combining ethnographic and art historical methods. Soumya James represents a new generation of Southeast Asia art historians. Her work examines the representation of the divine feminine in cultural and eco-political landscape of Angkor.
Tran Ky Phuong is a former curator of the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang (1978-98); currently he is a senior research fellow with the Vietnam Association of Ethnic Minorities’ Culture and Arts; and is a researcher of the Center for Cultural Relationship Studies in Mainland Southeast Asia (CRMA Center) of Chulachomklao Royal Military Academic, Thailand and at APSARA Authority, Siem Reap, Cambodia; from 2012 until the present he has been a consultant of UNESCO World Cultural Heritages at My Son Sanctuary. He has awarded several research fellowships to study at International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden; Asia Research Institute (ARI) of National University of Singapore; Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Arts, Washington DC.
He has published several books and articles in Vietnamese, English and Japanese, including: My Son in the History of Cham Art (1988); Vestiges of Champa Civilization (2008); Champa Iseki/Champa Ruins (co-author with Shige-eda Yutaku, 1997); The Cham of Vietnam: History, Society and Art (co-editor with Bruce Lockhart), NUS Press (2011); “The Architecture of Temple-Towers of Ancient Champa (Central Vietnam)” in Champa and the Archaeology of My Son, Vietnam (2009); “The Preservation and Management of the Monuments of Champa in Central Vietnam: The Example of My Son Sanctuary, a World Cultural Heritage Site”, in Rethinking Cultural Resource Management in Southeast Asia: Preservation, Development and Neglect (2011);“The new archaeological finds in Northeast Cambodia, Southern Laos and Central Highland of Vietnam: Considering on the significance of overland trading route and cultural interactions of the ancient kingdoms of Champa and Cambodia”, in Advancing Southeast Asian Archaeology 2013, SEAMEO SPAFA Regional Center for Archaeology and Fine Arts, Bangkok, Thailand (2015).
Soumya James is an independent Art Historian who studies premodern South and Southeast Asian art. She received her PhD in Art History from Cornell University. Her dissertation focused on the cultural and eco-political significance of the divine feminine at three Angkor period sites. Her research investigates the relationship between landscape and built form, gender and sexuality, and the art historical links between premodern South and Southeast Asia. Following her graduation, she continued her research while working as the coordinator for the Science and Society Programme at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India. She was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Franke Program in Science and the Humanities and a Fellow at the Whitney Humanities Center, both at Yale University. She is currently working on a book manuscript and planning her next fieldtrip to Cambodia.