AYA retreat in Battambang
From August 27 to 30, 2012, Krom Selapak Akpiwad (Artistic Development Club) went on a 4 day trip to Battambang province for workshops and networking purposes. With Cambodian Living Arts’ (CLA) support, the club has been founded this year to enable graduates of the School of Arts in Siem Reap to become self-sufficient performers of traditional Cambodian arts, by providing them with career skills and advanced artistic training. By February, the club will become a formal association, providing young artists support, services and space that they need to become professionals.
Battambang is home to many of Cambodia’s artists, and in the past years several smaller and bigger arts organizations have gained ground there. CLA’s Special Projects Manager, Song Seng, took the 28 club members from Siem Reap on a trip to get to know other artists and arts managers, experience different art forms and exchange ideas.
The program started with a visit of one of CLA’s classes, the Lakhaon Bassac class in Banteay Meanchey. Lakhaon students not only showed their skills during the demonstration, but also as “cultural ambassadors”, presenting their art form to the club.
On arrival in Battambang, the club got an introduction into the arts of Battambang by the Director of the Department of Culture and Fine Arts, followed by a visit of the National Museum and an enchanting evening watching the famous circus of the NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak. Phare Ponleu Selpak, a partner of CLA, is an organization that provides education in the arts and non arts sector for more than 1000 children every day.
Club members also visited CLA’s Modern Wedding Music class near Battambang. After paying their respects to the Master, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, the club visited Sammaki and Make Maek galleries, places where artists can create, exhibit their work and meet international artists. “I want the AYA members to understand that there are big and small organizations in the arts sector and how they work”, says Song Seng. An organization with yet a different approach is the French Institute which has its headquarters in Phnom Penh and focuses on teaching French, as well as supporting creative arts in Cambodia, using French expertise.
The purpose of this trip was to open the minds of these young artists and to show them what their country has to offer, so a visit to some of Battambang’s highlights, like Banon temple, Phnom Sampov, Ek Phnom Temple and Kampong Peu Lake was a must. There, team building activities were used to strengthen the feeling of unity and solidarity between the members of the club, or, how Song Seng puts it: “This trip had two goals: firstly, visiting arts organizations, especially to learn how arts and education can be linked and about the social background of these organizations. Secondly: to see how strong you can become if you are one unity. If there is no solidarity, there is no success.”
For more information about the arts organizations visited by AYA, please click on the following links: