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Srun Rida: Cambodian artist adds blue to the ASEAN palette

ASEAN secretary-general Kao Kim Hourn (left) officiated the handover ceremony of the residency to Srun Rida at the ASEAN Gallery in Jakarta. ASEAN SECRETARIAT
ASEAN secretary-general Kao Kim Hourn (left) officiated the handover ceremony of the residency to Srun Rida at the ASEAN Gallery in Jakarta. ASEAN SECRETARIAT

Srun Rida: Cambodian artist adds blue to the ASEAN palette

In a vibrant display of artistic flair and cultural exchange, the Cambodian visual artist Srun Rida added another hue to the ASEAN Gallery with his latest work, Image in Blue, unveiled on June 19.

As the fifth participant in the highly regarded ASEAN Artists Residency Programme (AARP), Rida’s masterpiece was greeted with acclaim by ASEAN’s secretary-general, Kao Kim Hourn, at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The ceremony was also presided over by ASEAN’s vice chairman, Pisanu Suvanajata. Rida’s contribution, a study in blue, became the 118th addition to the esteemed collection held within the ASEAN Gallery.

“So far, we’ve welcomed four alumnus artists to the AARP. In 2019, we were graced with a Thai artist. Last year, following two years of Covid-19 restrictions, we introduced artists from Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. This year, we are thrilled to feature another promising talent, our young Cambodian artist, Srun Rida,” Kim Hourn remarked during his opening speech.

During the occasion, Kim Hourn underscored the role of public-private collaborations in driving the ASEAN community-building efforts and promoted increased engagement with the private sector for such initiatives.

Suvanajata extolled the unifying power of art, pledging his commitment to ASEAN’s vision of community building through cultural and artistic exchanges.

“I am honoured and delighted to support ASEAN’s vision of community-building through arts and culture,” Suvanajata reaffirmed.

As his artwork was unveiled and presented, Rida emphasised the importance of schemes like the AARP for empowering emerging artists from Southeast Asia. Expressing his gratitude for the residency, he conveyed his excitement at the chance to represent ASEAN art globally.

“I am immensely thankful to the AARP for this opportunity. As a resident artist, this is an incredible honour. This brings me one step closer to showcasing my art to the world,” Rida expressed.

Rida, a prodigious visual artist from Cambodia, spent the period from May 23 to June 20 crafting his artwork, focusing on ASEAN unity, as part of his residency with the fifth ASEAN Artists Residency Programme (AARP).

The AARP, with its mission to nurture and foster young talent, promotes ASEAN identity through cultural dialogue and educational programmes. Rida’s diverse skills encompass painting, printmaking, photography, and installation, allowing him to lend unique perspectives to his art.

His artwork grapples with the dynamic interplay between human society and the natural environment, the transforming landscape of societal evolution, and the intricate nuances of change. This resonates with ASEAN’s Strategic Plan for Culture 2016-2025. The residency programme thus emerges as a key promoter of emerging talents.

The residency programme offers a unique opportunity each year for one artist to spend a month crafting a unique artwork that becomes part of the ASEAN Gallery’s permanent collection. This not only presents the rich artistic diversity of Southeast Asia but also strengthens mutual understanding and fortifies the sense of ASEAN community.

The AARP stands as an influential platform for budding artists in the region, empowering them with a stage from which they can create, learn, and contribute to the ASEAN identity. Rida, with his keen eye for fine arts and cross-medium expertise, has indeed enhanced the ASEAN Gallery’s collection, bringing his unique perspective to the forefront.

The AARP continues its pursuit of promoting the diverse artistic expressions of Southeast Asia, fostering a sense of shared identity, and advancing the artistic careers of young talents in the region. Rida’s contribution underscores the initiative’s success, bringing Cambodian artistic brilliance to the fore while strengthening the bonds within the ASEAN community.

This vibrant cultural exchange, backed by both the public and private sectors, reiterates the potential for art and creativity to unite people from different backgrounds, reinforcing ASEAN’s vision of community building through arts and culture.

Through programmes like the AARP, the ASEAN Secretariat continues to play a vital role in shaping the future of the region’s art scene, with a lasting impact on its vibrant young artists.


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