Heavy Skirt

My childhood was spent in Prey Veng province of Cambodia in the early seventies in a time of war. My mother talks about having very few clothes at that time, and only one skirt, which she patched over and over again until it became the Heavy Skirt. It was also a heavy time for my people, especially for my mother who was pregnant with me during the bombing campaigns. Even now life in Cambodia is heavy; things are still complicated in my country. People in my life are still messed up from that time, even though so many years have passed. All things are related to, and are affected by the war.

As a buffalo boy I grew up in the countryside close to the land, close to natural life and close to the people of my village. My work is showing my feeling that all of us in life suffer and have pain. Women are our life source. We all come from the skirt. Fabric is close to our skin; the closest thing to us, our clothes can make us feel easy or difficult, but mostly they soothe and support us. They cover the body, and make us look nice. When we are hurting it is because of the heavy skirt.

I make my work, describing to the painting many stories I have, and this for me is solving and is salve for the feeling I have left over from the difficult experiences of wartime. Of course it is not a real solution to these problems, but it helps me. I just make my work as my own solution to what I feel, and to contribute something positive to support my people and the environment.

Leang Seckon graduated from the Royal University of Fine arts in 2002 having completed a BA in Plastic Arts and a further degree in Design. He has exhibited widely in Cambodia, and in Japan, Singapore, China, USA, Norway, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Hong Kong, with the most recent solo show in March 2010 at Rossi and Rossi Gallery in London.

His concern for influencing social change around care for the environment finds a vehicle in The Rubbish Project, a grassroots art movement for environmental advocacy he started with Fleur Smith in 2006. The King of Cambodia has endorsed this work.