Still Waters

By Sam Campbell , Economics Today still-water-1

Water, that most fundamental of elements, is getting a second look at the Bophana Center, with 18 local artists exploring the concept ‘still water.’

Avoiding the obvious platitudes, Chum Noy, the cultural events man-ager, said that the exhibition is a step forward for the contemporary art scene in Phnom Penh.

An exhibit featuring live morning glory, a popular aqautic crop in Cambodia

An exhibit featuring live morning glory, a popular aqautic crop in Cambodia

Water has been central to the Khmer psyche for millennia, said Tith Veasna, the exhibition’s curators, pointing to the extensive hydrological infrastructure of the ancient Angkor empire and the pervasive wetlands that cover much of the country in wet season as examples of why.

The artists were asked, “How does water affect human life?” Tith Veasna added, resulting in sometimes complex considerations of the consequences of development, such as pollution and flooding. “To destroy the environment is not only to destroy ourselves, but also destroy the future,” she said.

Heim Ankanitha, 25, examines the disparity between traditional folk Cambodian traditions surrounding water and the actions of modern Cambodians. “People say water is life but they never think about water,” she said. Weddings were once held by the waters of Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh, Heim Kannitha added, until steady encroachment and a growing population sent pollution levels soaring.

Her work, an intriguing trio of collages, questions the wisdom ignoring traditional attitudes, with a teeming wetland showing what’s at stake, and a giant question mark to underline the quandary.


Chicken Kebabs


I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 6 chicken thigh fillets, cubed
  • 300g / 10oz plain yoghurt
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 11/2 teaspoon paprika, ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 60ml / 2oz lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 24 satay sticks

M e t h o d :

  • 1 Soak satay sticks in cold water for 30 minutes.
  • 2 Place yoghurt, garlic, paprika, cumin seeds, lemon
  • juice, parsley, oregano and pepper in a bowl, and
  • mix until combined.
  • 3 Place chicken on satay sticks and brush-over with
  • half the mixture. Leave to marinate in refrigerator
  • for 2-3 hours.
  • 4 Heat oil on barbecue (or char grill pan), add chicken
  • kebabs and cook 4-5 minutes each side.
  • 5 Serve with remaining marinade mixture. 􀉶
  • Source: chicken for all chicken