Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Artist’s message takes flight with new show



Artist’s message takes flight with new show

Dina Daly’s images of cranes and ibises were born of conservation concerns.
Dina Daly’s images of cranes and ibises were born of conservation concerns. Hong Menea

Artist’s message takes flight with new show

Against thick swathes of oily greens, cranes with scarlet crowns are dipping and diving for their supper, the insects rendered in blots of ink and flecks of gold leaf.

The canvas is one of the most striking works in a new exhibition from Cambodian sculptor and painter Dina Chhan, which is set to open on Thursday.

Dina, who has taken the name of her fiancé and now signs her name Dina Daly, has in the past dedicated her work to representations of women and abstract animals.

But she chose to hone in on the crane and ibis, recurring motifs in her work, for this latest exhibit, titled “On the Verge of Extinction”.

Over cups of milky tea, Dina says she was inspired by a trip she took to flooded forests and the efforts of conservationists to protect the species in Cambodia.

“We had to go there by boat and look through a telescope. All the trees are full of birds – we could no longer see the trees,” she says.

She was also touched by the images of birds etched into the temple walls at Angkor Wat – highlighting a long lineage of Cambodian reverence for the crane. She has now carved out a space for herself in that tradition.

Although it is easy to lament the destruction of forests and several species of animals from Cambodia due to long bouts of unfettered logging, hunting and climate change, Dina says she wanted to celebrate what the Kingdom has managed to hold on to.

“This makes me proud of my country, that we still have these birds left,” she says.

She hopes by immortalising them in art, others will deepen their appreciation for their species and bolster attempts to protect them.

Sarus cranes are a vulnerable breed; there are fewer than 1,000 of the birds estimated across Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

In Dina’s work, too, they can be elusive – just visible through long stripes of painted grass – or hidden in a fiery palette with angular lines. Another painting manages to capture both the essence of a galaxy and the texture of cracked earth.

The past few months have been a flurry of creativity for Dina, who is painting as much as possible before the upcoming arrival of her first child.

Dina was also honoured as the Kingdom’s top young artist at the CLMTV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) Contemporary Artist Awards held in Thailand in February this year.

Her latest project, she says, has allowed her to spread her wings.

“I feel like painting is freedom. You can show expressions or experiment,” she says.

On the Verge of Extinction opens on Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 6pm at the Insider Gallery, InterContinental Phnom Penh and runs until February 4.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At