Home Architect Kanha Hul to Silapak Trotchaek Pneik (STP Cambodia)

Kanha Hul to Silapak Trotchaek Pneik (STP Cambodia)

by godlove4241
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A woman’s body is a domain of translation: as she brings forms and ideas into being, she becomes the “text” through which multiple interpretations of the world are made possible. Likewise, the camera – a technology historically associated with the colonial and patriarchal Enlightenment project – can decenter the paradigms of power it has often served to entrench by enabling alternative interpretations. Tackling this complex legacy in her “Values” series (all works cited as of 2022), artist Kanha Hul uses photography to peel back the socio-cultural layers surrounding the identity of a group of indigenous Bunong women in the highlands of Cambodia and Vietnam.

Hul’s compositions often feature a female figure framed by her typical milieu. While women are portrayed as relaxed, even tranquil, the artist disrupts the uniformity of the surfaces of her photographs with golden embroidery that hides and reveals multiple identities. In Sacrificethese points constitute a veil which covers the face of a woman, while in 280 days And Responsibility, the gold thread takes the form of a halo reminiscent of Orthodox iconography, effectively transforming the subjects into saints. Hul elevates the synchronicity between textile and text by including actual fabric produced by Bunong communities in her images. The fabric subtly weaves into the background, embracing the characters and providing a translating lens through which aspects of the women’s individual stories are accentuated and intricate. Conceptually woven from topics such as motherhood, agency, or social mobility (stories the women shared with Hul during the photo shoot), the fabric functions as a collective stream of consciousness that mitigates the scrutiny of camera to nurture a cosmos of divine femininity on humble earth.

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