Dead Wood, 2020, Single channel video, color, sound, 1’16”
All images courtesy of the artists
An elegant Dead Wood is standing still among the living tree. It is a profile of the tree’s resilience to the death until the very last breath. The battle is not just this one but many, not just for itself, but for the whole world. For instance, this dead wood is one example of a life cycle in the Monk’s Community Forestry. The natural cycle has gotten disturbed by men – his need, his greed, and his recklessness. However, the living tree, the dead wood, the ash of the dead wood will begin with a little seed. Even when the death comes, if hope is alive, the next generation will live.
Choulay Mech (born in 1992 in Kandal province) lives and works in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She is an artist, documentary filmmaker and a freelance journalist at VOD. Her passion for the job, particularly on environmental and animal rights issues, and she has a sensitivity toward human-interest storytelling. She also helped on an article in early 2020 about Cambodian mental health facilities for the Washington Post. She did a nice feature earlier this year about the changing lives of fishing communities living on floating villages around the country’s biggest lake and river system, the Tonle Sap.
She has a strong background in photography and video production as well; she’s had photo exhibitions and completed one-year extensive training in documentary film production at the Bophana Audiovisual Resources Center, directing a short film “My Home” about elephant conservation in Mondulkiri. In 2020, she received an award from Creative Generation 3 Awards. The next year, she got three grants, one from Angkor Photo Festival, in Cambodia, the second from Citizen Engaged in Environmental Justice for all (CEEJA) and the third from SUMERNET for media – research partnership for environment reporting.
Her selected exhibitions include “The Mekong is blue and dried”, Sea Junction, BACC, Bangkok, 2021; TERATOTERA Festival, Web festival, Japan; Elements, Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh, 2020; Message in Mind, 10th Photo Phnom Penh Festival, TorTim Art Gallery, Phnom Penh, 2019 and Co (Contemporary and Documentary Photography Class), Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh, 2018.
Sereyrath Mech (b.1993 in Phnom Penh) received her bachelor degree in media management from the Department of Media and Communications in Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2018, where she was equipped with photographic and filmmaking skills. She produced a photo book entitled Contemporary Breath for her thesis, which became a milestone for her career as a visual storyteller. Later on, she has produced several photo series such as Gratitude, Wat Bo primary school, my neighboring space, and I am a daughter. In 2017, one of her photos was awarded second place in the Cultural Visa Photo competition then got to be exhibited in New York Gallery. Sereyrath has joined film training such as Film Incubator, sound training and writing course. Along her journey, she has also been involved in making documentary films such as A shot, a change, Ben and community, My gun, my soul, and the mask.
Her selected exhibitions include Natte, Nappe, Mappe, Institut français du Cambodge, Phnom Penh; “The Mekong is blue and dried”, Sea Junction, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Bangkok 2021; Elements, Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh and TERATOTERA Festival, Web festival, Japan 2020; Contemporary Breath, Sangker Gallery, Battambang; and 10th Photo Phnom Penh Festival, Message in Mind, TorTim Art Gallery, 2019. Her artwork, Gratitude, 2018, which is has been joined a graduation exhibition, Co at Sa Sa Art Projects 2018.