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Khmer heritage: Si Met’s powerful digital art journey inspires diaspora

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Artist Si Met displays his digital work during a recent event at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH). PHOTO SUPPLIED

Khmer heritage: Si Met’s powerful digital art journey inspires diaspora

Si met, a talented digital artist hailing from the Khmer Krom community, is passionately dedicated to creating and preserving the vibrant Khmer culture through his captivating digital artwork.

Inspired by his grandmother, who instilled in him a deep appreciation for the history of Cambodian arts, cultures, dance, and the grandeur of Angkor, Met’s creations celebrate and promote the richness of his heritage.

Despite being the sole Khmer Krom student among 70 Vietnamese classmates, Met fearlessly showcases his work on Khmer culture. He feels fortunate to have the recognition and support of his peers and teachers, who eagerly contribute to his projects related to Khmer culture. Their encouragement fuels his determination to make a meaningful impact.

At the age of 23, Met channels his creativity into producing artwork that sheds light on significant themes of Khmer culture. His talent has garnered success in various contests in Vietnam, where he skilfully combines traditional drawing techniques with digital painting. Moreover, Met dedicates his skills to painting local Khmer houses and illustrating arks for Khmer Krom pagodas.

One of Met’s notable works, “The Scent of Rumduol at Sunset,” captures the essence and beauty of the rumduol flower, widely hailed as the most exquisite bloom in Angkor Wat. In this painting, a fairy named Phka Rumduol embodies the freedom of a woman strolling through a field of yellow flowers during a mesmerizing sunset. The character of Phka Rumduol is inspired by the graceful apsara bas-reliefs adorning the walls of Angkor Wat, renowned throughout Cambodia for their elegance and allure.

Met possesses a profound admiration for Khmer culture and its people. Driven by his profound appreciation for the loyalty, love, solidarity, and mutual support he has witnessed among the Cambodian people, he aspires to study culture and art in Cambodia or contribute his talents here.

Met’s art has achieved recognition and acclaim, placing among the top 10 in a digital competition focused around the rumduol flower motif. Additionally, his work garnered the third spot in a social media vote, further solidifying the impact and appeal of his creations. Despite facing obstacles along his journey, Met’s unwavering dedication, backed by the support of his family, friends, and teachers, propels him forward in pursuit of his dreams. His commitment to the Cambodian nation and the future development of Khmer culture is truly admirable.

With an earnest desire to prevent confusion with neighbouring countries, Met suggests Cambodian people proactively promote their own culture. He draws inspiration from the efforts of other diasporic communities in promoting their heritage and believes some aspects, such as the temple of Angkor and traditional clothing, might lead to misunderstandings among foreigners. Motivated by this idea, Met employs his artistic skills to create works that showcase Cambodian culture and raise awareness about its unique attributes.

While studying Vietnamese typography during his time in Vietnam, Met independently delved into learning Khmer through social media platforms. He acknowledges although the school provided him with basic knowledge, his creativity and innovation were born from his own introspection. Despite occasional negative comments, he remains focused on improvement and chooses to spread love to those who appreciate his work, while disregarding those who do not.

Met confesses he has yet to visit Cambodia, relying solely on his imagination to visualize the form of apsaras. Limited exposure to Khmer culture within the Khmer Krom community, coupled with a scarcity of available pictures, contributed to his constrained knowledge of Cambodia.

However, his fascination with the intricate patterns of sculptures, particularly the apsara reliefs at Angkor Wat, kept him motivated. Met finds solace in the profound experience, knowing his ancestors have left behind a legacy of invaluable positive values.


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