via CAAI News Media
By Gloucester County Times
March 26, 2010, 3:11PM
By Kristie Rearick
Works from Cambodian master artist Chamroeun Yin will be on display through Oct. 20 at the WheatonArts Down Jersey Folklife Center in Millville. The artist, who has lived in the U.S. for nearly 30 years, will showcase costumes, accessories and masks in the exhibition, “Cambodian Traditions: Weddings and Court Dances.”
“Yin is a dancer, traditional costume maker, mask maker and a teacher in Cambodian crafts and court dances,” said Iveta Pirgova, Down Jersey Folklife Center director and curator of this exhibition. “All of the items on display are made by him.”
The exhibit puts Khmer classical dance in the spotlight, she said, an art form that was oppressed by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.
An Aspara Crown, used in Khmer classical court dance, is shown above. At right, below, Cambodian master artist Chamroeun Yin wears an intricate dance costume.
“It’s a tradition that goes back more than a thousand years to the Khmer empire. During this time the king created the Royal Ballet as an intermediary between the monarchy and spiritual realm,” Pirgova said.
There is a lot of symbolism involved in the dance. Its graceful gestures and beautiful costumes represent the Khmer culture, Pirgova said.
“The dance conveys sacred, social and aesthetic messages through movement, rhythm, gestures, poses and elaborate costumes,” she said.
Yin came to America as a refugee as part of the Khmer Classical Dance Troupe which toured the country in the early ’80s. Today, he lives in Philadelphia where he works as an artist in several media. He makes traditional wedding costumes, male and female dance costumes and teaches Khmer court dance and mask-making to young people.
His goal is to keep these Khmer traditions alive.
The Cambodian wedding, one of these traditions, takes at least two nights, Pirgova said. Ceremonies begin on Friday afternoon and end on Saturday evening with a reception. The costumes worn by the bride and groom change from ceremony to ceremony.
“They know very well which costume is appropriate for each part of the wedding ceremony,” she said. “Visitors to the exhibit will see different costumes for the wedding reception, sashes with intricate beadwork on golden lamé, hair pieces and other accessories.”
Family workshops are planned to coincide with the exhibit.
Photos courtesy of John Gallagher
In “Cambodian Beadwork on Fabric,” offered April 25, visitors will learn to create flower and diamond designs with gold glass beads and sequins and place them on a small purse; participants can learn the basics of the “Cambodian Court Dance” at a workshop planned for Sept. 19; and a performance demonstration of the court dances by the artist will be held during the Festival of Fine Craft at WheatonArts on Oct. 3.
If you go:
“Cambodian Traditions: Weddings and Court Dances” comes to the Down Jersey Folklife Center at WheatonArts at 1501 Glasstown Road in Millville from Wednesday, April 1 through Oct. 20. WheatonArts is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., April through December. The exhibit is included in the price of admission. Adults, $10; seniors and students, $7, children 5 and under are free. For more information call (856) 825-6800, (800) 998-4552 or visit http://www.wheatonarts.org/