The American University of Phnom Penh is very delighted to introduce a photography project titled “Untold Cambodian Stories” which is a fabulous initiative from our professor, Carlo Santoro with our students as part of the class project for the Arts and Culture summer class.
In this project, students will collect photos, photo-collages or photomontages of people, models colors, liquids, plastics, fabrics, metals, but also of plants, gardens, constructive elements, symbols, everything that represents us, or rather, everything that they think is “us”.
Considering the limited margin of expression in which the artistic context in Cambodia is forced to operate, the courageous exploration of the personal dimension turns out to be a way that allows anyone to propose meaningful aesthetic experiences.
They will move away from the stereotypes proposed by contemporary artistic research. They will avoid aligning ourselves with the canons proposed by international institutions. They will avoid simply adopting a Cambodian lens to tell stories that instead come from the rest of the world.
They will tell the stories: stories of the small successes, big victories, but also of the defeats, fears, as well as the memories, aspirations, plans for the near future; stories that confront everyday realities; our realities. They will tell stories about a small group of university students who live in or around these stories. They will tell stories that influence and permeate the close social circle in which a young generation of Cambodians lives.
Audience will hear unfamiliar stories, personal stories, stories of our history, stories of our families, stories of a dear friend, or stories that are simply considered our own. Audience will also hear stories of the daily rituals, stories of one of our days, one of our journeys, or stories of stories that, though lived by others, are still stories of one of our days, one of our journeys, or journeys of our friends, journeys of a relative, journeys of someone who has simply lived next door to us. Audience will hear stories of humans, animals, plants or stories of “still life” or even stories of our neighborhood, stories of our homes, stories of our rooms and in our rooms.
Those will be stories of our lives, stories from our lives or the lives we aspire to, stories shared in our classrooms, today, on our screens or simply those will be the stories of the screens we share.