(*1982, Svay Rieng, Cambodia)
Khvay Samnang graduated from the Painting Department at the Royal University of Fine Art in Phnom Penh, where he lives and works today. Khvay’s multidisciplinary practice offers new views on historic and current events as well as on traditional cultural rituals using humorous symbolic gestures. In his work, which includes all media, he focuses on the humanitarian and ecological impacts of colonialism and globalization. The development of each body of work is based on thorough research and investigation of local specificities, structures and conditions. Traveling is a crucial tool for his practice. Engaging directly and personally with local communities – within and beyond the cultural scene – is an integral part of his work, which makes it highly relevant, critical and connectable to various contemporary discourses. His work shows a remarkable ability to engage with cultural and geographic contexts as well as with spatial and institutional settings.
Khvay Samnang is a founding member of Stiev Selapak, an art collective dedicated to reappraising and remembering Cambodian history and exploring continuities in visual practices disrupted by civil war and the Khmer Rouge regime. In 2010/11, Stiev Selapak set up two nonprofit art spaces in Phnom Penh: Sa Sa Art Projects, for experimental residencies, knowledge-sharing, and community-based programs; and SA SA BASSAC, a gallery, resource center, and reading room. He teaches Contemporary Art Class to emerging Cambodian artists under the program of Sa Sa Art Projects. In 2016 was nominated for the Future Generation Art Prize, Ukraine, in 2015 he was nominated for Prix Pictet Prize; AIGA AGO Photography Prize Long List, Canada; the Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Hong Kong; and Prudential Eye Awards Best Emerging Artist in Asia Using Photography, Singapore. In 2014-15 he was a grant holder of KfW Stiftung for the 12-month programme ‘Artists in Residence’ in collaboration with Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; in 2017 he was invited by KfW Stiftung as an alumnus to participate in a think tank with the world-renowned dancer and choreographer Akram Khan. Later 2019 he was artist in residency at Delfina Foundation, London, UK.
His solo exhibitions include A Forest of Spirit, Nova Contemporary Art Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand; Khvay Samnang “Preah Kunlong” & “Where is my land?”, Batia Sarem Gallery, Siem Reap, Cambodia; Capsule 10: Khvay Samnang, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2019); Where is my land?, Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh (2017); Bloom Projects Exchange Series, Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, USA (2016); The Pacific Project: Khvay Samnang, Orange County Museum of Art, CA, USA; Footprints of Yantra Man, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, Enjoy My Sand, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Rubber Man, Jeu de Paume, Paris, CAPC Bordeaux, France (2015); Human Nature, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Singapore (2014); and Newspaper Man, SA SA BASSAC, Phnom Penh (2012).