Cambodia’s first contemporary art gallery dedicated to singular exhibitions by local Cambodian established artists opens in February.



PHNOM PENH – Sa Sa Bassac is a new space for contemporary art opening in Phnom Penh in February 2011. Located across the park from the National Museum and the Royal Palace and a bloc from the convergence of the Mekong, Tonle Sap, and Bassac River, Sa Sa Bassac is in the heart of Cambodia’s capitol city. The space comprises an uninterrupted sixty square meter gallery, an art library, and workshop room.

Sa Sa Bassac is dedicated to creating, facilitating, producing, and sharing contemporary visual culture and projects in and from Cambodia. Mindful of the Cambodian context, our programs carefully support diverse practices amongst artists, curators, writers, and other cultural producers. We aim to facilitate a respect and continuity of tradition while expanding the potentials and understanding of what art can be.

Programming at Sa Sa Bassac is focused on the creative and educational experience of the gallery exhibition for artist and audience. We are dedicated to singular exhibitions of new work by local Cambodian early-mid career and established artists. In our first year, we are pleased to work with the following artists: Vandy Rattana, Yim Maline, Chan Dany, Ouk Sochivy, Leang Seckon, Svay Sareth, Khvay Samnang, Lim Sokchanlina, Than Sok, Duong Saree, as well as participation in the PhotoPhnomPenh festival.

Each exhibition will be supported by a uniquely tailored visual literacy program (Khmer and English languages) including public lectures, age-specific art classes in cooperation with local schools, and publications. Our library is supported by donations: books, periodicals, and our ongoing initiative Cambodian Visual Art Archive (CVAA) will be accessible for public use in our reading/workshop room. We welcome to the space individual or collaborative research initiatives, projects and presentations by Cambodian diaspora, regional and international artists and collectives.

Sa Sa Bassac is both an expansion of Sa Sa Art Gallery and a merger with Bassac Art Projects. Sa Sa Art Gallery was founded in 2009 by the Cambodian artist group Stiev Selapak, or Art Rebels, who saw the need for an independent commercial gallery that provided opportunities for emerging artists and engaging the Cambodian public. Sa Sa Art Gallery hosted ten exhibitions by emerging artists and, along the way, developed a loyal audience of art advocates in the local Cambodian and expatriate community. The gallery is listed in The Japan Foundation’s Art Guide to Asia (2010). Bassac Art Projects was founded in 2007 by Fulbright-Humphrey fellow, curator and scholar of contemporary art from Cambodia, Erin Gleeson, to support curatorial and educational practices in the visual arts including developing exhibitions locally and internationally, writing curriculum, collections-building, and creating residency opportunities for emerging artists. Gleeson will direct Sa Sa Bassac.

The first exhibition at SA SA BASSAC is The Bomb Ponds by VANDY Rattana, a Stiev Selapak co-founder. The Bomb Ponds comprises color photographs and documentary film of seemingly serene landscapes – circular bodies of water and indentations of land: craters left from covert American carpet-bombing of Cambodia between 1964-1975. Vandy’s work testifies to and questions this period of destruction. First exhibited at the Hessel Museum, Bard College, New York, The Bomb Ponds was voted as one of ten museum exhibitions to see in 2010 by Art Asia Pacific’s Almanac editors. The exhibition opens on 17 February at 6pm, with an artist talk scheduled for 18 February at 6.30pm in Khmer and English.

Sa Sa Bassac is located at #18 (upstairs) Sothearos Boulevard.

For more information, contact Erin Gleeson +855 (0)12 507 917 or

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