minorities : Report ‘Cambodia’
June 25 - July 17 2016
minorities:Report “Cambodia” – A photographic exhibition by Pein Cheong Lee. This exhibition featured a series of photographic work shot in different places in Cambodia. This project was initiated through a circuitous process, as an attempt internalise a seemingly foreign yet familiar culture within the SEA region, through time spent with the selected Malaysian NGOs in Cambodia.
The Cham people of Cambodia are the descendants of the Champa Empire of several centuries ago. Today they make up less than 10% of the population of Cambodia. They also form the bulk of the Cambodian Muslim community, which is around 5% of the population. During the Khmer Rouge era, 50% of Chams were killed during the revolution. Today, Muslim majority countries in the South East Asian region have concentrated aid efforts to help this community develop. Malaysian NGOs have been part of such activities in support of the Cham people.
“I am based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Since 2008, I have been photographing in the South East Asian region with the intention of rediscovering my home. Having left Malaysia at the age of 12 for education abroad, I have lived most of my adult life in the West. My work is a means of relearning my home, and the region surrounding it. It is the best form of therapy I have so far encountered as South East Asia represented an odd landscape to me, vaguely familiar, but now somewhat clearer, once neatly framed. Photography has eased the culture-shock of moving home, a reverse-migration, and exploring the region around Malaysia, my home, has became a way of seeing, of clearing the head and shifting perspectives. It’s been like getting to know distant cousins and uncles and aunts so I could figure out the tribe back home.”
Exhibition review by Rouwen Lin, The Star.