Analysis Of Artworks "Monthly Mandatory Meeting" And "Life And Death"

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As far as I am concerned, this painting should be related to the themes of “Everyday Life”, because of many aspects. As we talk about the processes and purposes, I believe that the artist must have painted this picture after doing a lot of ideological struggles. From 1975-1979, Cambodia lost numerous its artists and intellectuals, leaving a massive vacuum in the nation’s cultural history. One of them is Svay Ken. As you can notice, this artwork was painted by 1994. There is a huge gap between 1979 and 1994, for many artists, these decades are still the nightmare of them even the period of Khmer Rouge was passed.

In 1994, Svay Ken began to use their artistic practice to overcome the trauma of those brutal and harsh years. Furthermore, he also tried to use his painting to satire the darkness of society at that time. The artwork “Monthly Mandatory Meeting” could be the best evidence of that. In this painting, we can easily find out there are lots of people gathering together, like a kind of meeting in the village. They all listen to a guy that stands at the middle. However as you can see from the details, not everyone is willing to participant. Some people are crying some people are enduring.

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The painter used a lot of characterizations on the scene at sunset and the red-streaked sky, the details of the trees. All of these details show a characteristic Cambodian landscape, making this meeting very common, like a daily activity. Also, the symmetrical composition and the repetitive effect of the crowd of faces convey the ideological conformity expected during the Khmer Rouge period, as well as the suppression of individual identity into the collective.

In my point of view, this is an artwork that relates to “Life and Death”. I was attracted by the color of this painting as well as the drawing objects. When I stepped into that exhibition hall I felt so impressive, this drawing is the largest one there, this makes me feel these animals are alive. Life and death are in the blink of an eye. This artwork seems to be fixed in the moment of life and death, cause first, we can clearly see the expression of the first tiger, even the saliva. It shows how it scared and terrified by the forest fire. From the light source, we can give an assumption that the fire is rapidly spreading from the left-hand side. Also, the effect of the fire can also be seen on the surface of the river. This gives a sense of oppression, a great pressure from the environment or nature.

Secondly, from the tiger at right hand side, it tries to get itself out of trouble. Its claws had pierced the buffalo, but his gaze is always toward the river, which meant he did not want to fall into the water. At this point, buffalos, and tigers are no longer predators and preys, but the creatures want to escape, want to survive. They are all fighting for safe. From one place I can see the “Life”, that is from the eagle. They are flying on the sky freely without a limit. It is not hard to see how the eagles ‘wing, and the racial advantage have helped them out of trouble with ease. It shows how little the hierarchy of the food chain matters under the wrath of nature.

Raden Saleh, this work was created after he had spent 20 years in Europe and it showed the impact of his artistic experience there. He was influenced by the Romantic Movement, which created a fashion of images of the violent and destructive power of nature. These properties are fully displayed in this artwork. Park 3: I felt fear and pressure at first sight when I saw this picture, because of its color and the face of the boy. The vantage point of this photo is eye level, as there are lots of things going on in this picture, this viewpoint is the best to fully see what around the little boy. This boy is holding a grenade while the other had a claw-like gesture or mimic the other hand. There are lots of questions here, why holding a grenade in the public place, as mentioned, Central Park? Grenade is kind of weapon that powerful, can kill many lives in moment. Then at the right top corner, there is a family going out for a walk together, an adult is holding a child. They are so alive, totally cannot fit in with the boy.

For me, this is kind of contrast between Life and Death. In my opinion, this child is being used to demonstrate the effects that war brought to the young generation, the boy looks innocent but holding a grenade, maybe he doesn't know how serious consequence could be caused. From the background, there is no one around him at all. The empty space exemplifies the boy’s isolation from others. These shreds of evidence all symbolize life and death, the pressure and the shadow it brings.

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