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By Sharne Wolff
Artist Sopheap Pich’s life has essentially turned full circle. Born in difficult times in the eleventh century trading city of Battambang in northwest Cambodia, Pich fled the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge as a young boy – first to the safety of Thailand, and later The Philippines, before his family were relocated to the USA where he studied painting at University. In 2002, Pich finally returned to Phnom Penh. Feeling that his painting was “missing something” he drew inspiration from these ‘new’ surroundings and began working in three dimensions.
After a decade spent developing a sculpture practice, Pich’s most recent exhibition was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Pich’s work has been brought to Sydney as the next stage of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation’s Collection+ series. The current installation includes several works owned by the Foundation together with others sourced from collections worldwide. Pich uses locally sourced materials, particularly rattan and bamboo, both of which have many traditional uses in Cambodia. While rattan is very flexible, bamboo is well known for its strength.
Pich’s light and delicate sculptures reflect the paradox of his upbringing – caught between the quiet simplicities of a childhood spent in Asia and the might of an American education. Although Pich has simultaneously been branded insider and outsider, it’s this very experience that has proved advantageous for his art.
WHEN?Until December 14
WHERE?Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Paddington
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