Leang Seckon
Changing Seasons
Mixed media on canvas
46 x 60 cm (18 x 23.5 in)

The progress of the world has led to fewer distinctions between the seasons. It has also led to some permanent changes in the politics of Cambodia. Cambodia had prospered for a short period under the reign of the ‘island of peace’, with a modern city full of buildings, factories and freedom.

During the 1960s, Cambodia’s head of state met with foreign representatives for whom he had equal respect. His Majesty, the late King Norodom Sihanouk, met with Mrs Jacqueline Kennedy who represented the United States of America. She was quite interested in the beautiful Kingdom of Cambodia – as if it were a prized piece of jewellery that an Apsara wears while dancing. She saw, through the bravery of athletes on the international stage, that this country is full of power and courage. But the sweet romance quickly died. Their marriage broke up. What actually happened?

The husband died serving in the Khmer National Army. Cambodia was heavily bombed by the US. Then it fell into the bloody hands of the Khmer Rouge, and the country became an elephant graveyard.

The new generation almost never gets the chance to know the roots of its culture and civilisation. Old artists try their best to teach the new generation. The continuance of Khmer culture is a part of this rebirth, a chance to integrate emotions and concentration through contemporary and ancient means.

This work is called Changing Seasons. The US returned a Koh Ker–style Rama statue to Cambodia. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and former US President Bill Clinton met in Cambodia to continue strengthening the two countries’ relations as well as democracy.