Sopheap Pich: Compound
Image 1 / 2: Sopheap Pich. Compound [installation view at Henry Art Gallery, 2011].
Image 2 / 2: Sopheap Pich. Compound [installation view at Henry Art Gallery, 2011].
Cambodian born artist Sopheap Pich immigrated to the US with his family in 1984, where he received his formal education in art with a focus on painting. When he returned to live in Cambodia in 2003 he turned his practice toward sculpture made from traditional materials, primarily rattan and bamboo.
Whereas his earlier, U.S. based works were concerned with the forms of the human body, his sculptural installation at the Henry (Compound) is a reflection on the cycle of creation and destruction seen in the recent construction projects undertaken by Cambodian officials and commercial interests as the country struggles with modernization. Pich sees the new high rises, the filling in of lakes and reservoirs, and the constant sand dredging in the main rivers around Phnom Penh as both an apparent development of the country and an alarming depletion of its natural resources.
While in Seattle, Pich also collaborated with the artist Don Fels and the School of Drama of the University of Washington to design sets for a play based on the Cambodian American experience, written by University of Washington Professor Mark Jenkins.