Imagining the entangled intersections between nature and history, religion and violence, humans and other animals through the eyes of elephants.

Featuring works by Choulay Mech (Cambodia)
Recipient of the Objectifs Documentary Award 2023, Open Category
Mentor and Curator: Roger Nelson

18 May to 16 Jun 2024
Chapel Gallery, Objectifs
Free admission

Opening | 18 May 2024, 12pm – 7pm

Artist Talk with Choulay Mech and Roger Nelson | 18 May 2024, 2.30pm – 3.30pm (Register here)

How do elephants see?
What do elephants see?
How do we see elephants?

In this exhibition, Choulay Mech invites us to consider an elephant’s place in the world, and to imagine the world as it is experienced by elephants. The artist proposes a multi-species view of the entangled intersections between nature and history, religion and violence, humans and other animals. Her intuitive and poetic approach layers photography, video, and found objects, and draws on long-term research.

Choulay pays particular attention to the impact on elephants of ongoing environmental destruction in Cambodia, the country’s recent history of war and widespread violence, and the spiritual beliefs combining Buddhism with animism which shape the attitudes of many Cambodians.

How have these historical events and ways of thinking affected elephants? What can humans learn from other animals? Why are elephants so venerated, and so mistreated?

About the Artist

Choulay Mech (b. 1992, Kandal, Cambodia) lives and works in Phnom Penh. She is an artist, documentary filmmaker, and freelance journalist. She is passionate about environmental and animal rights issues, and human-interest storytelling. Choulay trained in journalism with the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, and in filmmaking with the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center. She has received several grants and awards, including from Creative Generation (2020), Angkor Photo Festival and Workshops (2021), and Citizen Engaged in Environmental Justice for All (CEEJA)(2021). Her reporting has been published in Cambodia and internationally, including with Southeast Asia Globe, Voice of Democracy and The Washington Post. In 2023, she was an Angkor Photo Festival fellow and an artist-in-residence at Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia. An Elephant’s Eye is her first solo exhibition, and her first exhibition in Singapore.

About the Curator

Roger Nelson is an art historian and curator, and Assistant Professor of Art History in the School of Humanities at Nanyang Technological University. He researches modern and contemporary art in Southeast Asia. He was previously a curator at National Gallery Singapore. He was the 2022 recipient of the A.L. Becker Southeast Asian Literature in Translation Prize. He is co-founding co-editor of Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, a scholarly journal published by NUS Press.

Presented by Objectifs
Supported by Cultural Matching Fund

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Artist Talk with Lê Nguyên Phương and Dan Tran | 18 May 2024, 4pm – 5pm (Register here)