May 24, 2010
See a multimedia version of this story at this link.
Once again, the Cambodian American artists from the Washington DC area are on the road. On May 8, they traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to perform at a fundraising event. For the artists who were born in Cambodia, it's another routine, performing a classical dance they have surely performed hundreds of times before. For the younger ones, born in the US, it's a sort of maiden voyage, as this time they are performing a folk dance on their own. They have made the trip to Richmond by themselves, without the elder ones, carrying a legacy that was passed from generation to generation. Little fish growing bigger...
See the multimedia introduction piece of this project at this link.
This project features 7 Cambodian masters in their specific art.
Meet each of them through a multimedia portrait (photos + interview) at the following links:
Archival pictures in this stories are from photographers Dominique de Rivaz, Jean-Jacques Kurz and Robert Trippett whose contribution to this project and multimedia pieces are greatly appreciated, thanks a lot!
From the Cambodian refugee camps of the Thai border in 1979 to America today, there’s still thousands of stories that must be told.
All the confirmed artists that I have met at the Cambodian temple of Silver Spring, Maryland these last two years have compelling stories… Most of them have fled Cambodia while the Vietnamese took over the country and the Khmer Rouge loosing it. Several ended up meeting together in Kao-I-Dang refugee camp where they were eager to bring back the Cambodian living arts alive. After a few months, a group of 30 families of artists was admitted in the United States, among the first Cambodian refugees accepted in the US. They settled in Maryland and started a new life in the early 80s. For the last 30 years now they have challenged the odds, going back to school, looking for jobs to support their family and raising their children. Still they continued practicing their art, sharing the tradition to a younger generation of Cambodian Americans.