In this article, we continue to explore how art can â€˜unflattenâ€™ our understanding of mega-infrastructure like the Lower Sesan 2 Dam (see Milne, Mahanty, and Cristofolettiâ€™s essay in this issue). We focus on the remarkable work of Cambodian artist Sreymao Sao, who explores the lived experiences of communities displaced by the Lower Sesan 2 Damâ€”some 5,000 indigenous and ethnic-minority people from four villages (Mahanty 2021)â€”as well as those living upstream and downstream. Sreymao Saoâ€™s workâ€”as seen in her exhibition â€˜Under the Waterâ€™, a collaboration with Sa Sa Art Projects, shown at the MIRAGE Contemporary Art Space in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from 11 January to 11 February 2019â€”explores villagersâ€™ changing experience of their rivers, lands, and lives. The title refers both to the villages submerged by the Lower Sesan 2 Dam and to downstream villages along the Mekong River who are geographically â€˜underâ€™ this and other dams. The work resonates with what is now termed â€˜socially engaged artâ€™, which is a rising feature of art this century (Coombs 2021). It involves an artistic practice that engages with social contexts through collaborative activities and critical inquiries, stemming from a desire to make a difference, and to address pressing issues like climate change and displacement.
|Made in China
|Published - 2018