Featuring a collection of paintings by students from the Cambodia Land Mine Museum (CLMM) School, Peace Art – a new exhibition currently on display at the Constable Gallery At Large – showcases young Cambodian’s visions for peace in their country and explores their hopes for the future.
As part of gallery founder Sasha Constable’s work with the students, Soth Plai Ngarm – founder of the Siem Reap-based Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies (CPCS) – spoke with 26 youth ranging from 11 to 21 years old about his experiences of living through the conflict, being a soldier, and becoming a peacebuilder.
Art as peace education
Ngarm’s presentation aimed to introduce and discuss issues around the concept of peace as preparation for a series of art classes and workshops that were conducted over the next five weeks, which resulted in the artwork currently on display at the gallery.
“For me, it was very special talking with the kids about peace because it’s played such an important role in my life and in my country’s transformation,” said Ngarm.
“There is a real need to keep the younger generations connected to not only our history but also understand our journey as a society and how ideas about peace have been turned into action by Cambodians over the last decades.”
Sasha provided technical support and guidance during the workshops as the students painted interpretations of what peace means to them.
“During the workshops, I taught the children about colour theory, composition and design, and helped mentor them about their ideas based on peace,” Sasha said.
“As a result, we now have 24 beautiful paintings based on the theme of peace and what it means to each person. I’m extremely excited to have a platform to showcase art like this, which deserves a wide audience.”
CPCS staff returned after the workshops to present certificates of achievement to each student, as a way of recognising their individual contributions towards greater understanding of peace in their communities.
The exhibition will continue throughout July and all proceeds from sales of the children’s paintings will go back in to funding more art workshops and other cultural activities.
Towards peace & reconciliation
The collaboration on the art exhibit is part of a major project being carried out by CPCS to build the Cambodia Peace Museum, which will serve as a space to continue connecting the younger generation of Cambodians to their history, emphasising the resiliency of the country’s people and the different ways they have contributed to building peace in Cambodia.
The Cambodia Peace Museum will use engaging exhibits to explore the personal stories behind peace movements, and highlight what can be learned from Cambodia’s past to build and sustain peace both in the country and wider region.
It will celebrate such movements as the Dhammayietra Peace Walks, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and the Working Group for Weapons Reduction, among many other significant initiatives in the country’s journey towards reconciliation and peace.
Constable Gallery at Large (www.constablegallery.com) is located at 628 Hap Guan Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Click on any photo below to browse photos from Ngarm’s presentation, the student painting workshops, the certificate presentations and the opening night of Constable Gallery At Large.