Khvay Samnang is a Cambodian artist

Khvay Samnang is a Cambodian artist. He has created several groups of work centered on the development and human rights issues in Cambodia. Utilizing video and photography, he has exposed controversial development projects around Phnom Penh. For over a year, Samnang repeatedly returned to Cambodia’s northeastern highland province, Rattanariki to survey the affected environment. His 2014 ‘Rubber Man’ depicts the artist during white liquid rubber over his face and naked body in the focus point of each photograph. This starkly contrast against the background color palette and represents the vulnerable connection between humans and the environment. The photographs were shot in three different locations. The village background symbolizes the indigenous peoples’ traditional way of life, and their loss of homes, culture and livelihood. The established rubber plantations symbolizes the economy and mass production in Cambodia. The young rubber tree saplings symoolizes deforestation and loss of natural habitats. Cambodia has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world and illegal logging is a serious and persistent problem despite efforts to curb it. Furthermore, more than 300,000 hectares of foreign-owned rubber plantations has been established, displacing local villagers and destroying the homes of communities and places of spiritual significance. ‘Rubber Man’ alludes to Cambodia’s unchecked development that leads to environmental degradation, including the complex influence of political and financial wrangling over the control over natural resources, and the suppression of indigenous communities’s rights.

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