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Exhibition openings: My Selfish Family and Illusion of Permanence

“My Selfish Family,” paintings by Ben Thynal (downstairs, Java
Café & Gallery)

“The Illusion of Permanence,” sculptures by Sallyanne Morgan
(upstairs, Java Café & Gallery)

EXHIBITION OPENINGS: 6 – 9pm Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Showing January 11 – February 19, 2012

Java Café & Gallery

56 Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Viewing hours: every day 7am – 10pm

“My Selfish Family”

Paintings by Ben Thynal

In a coded manner, Thynal looks at the selfish nature of human
relationships from the familial to the religious. By referring to his
“family” Thynal immediately suggests something intimate and
personal, but alludes to society as a whole. Unapologetically, he
discards the “politically correct” view and looks critically at
how families often manipulate and exploit each other for personal
gain, the pretense of religious rituals and even the abuse of

“When even one person acts selfishly, it hurts everyone,” Thynal

One painting, titled “Immoral,” depicts a mother with long
snake-like arms trying to catch children out of the air while a
“thought bubble” is filled with playing cards. The mother preys
upon her own children to make money that she only wastes by gambling.
Another shows a tightly wound group of people trapped in a circular
formation—their smiling faces purposely misleading when paired with
the title “Monster Family.” In “Balance” several intertwined
figures that represent a network of self-serving individuals fill an
egg-like shape that balances on another small egg and small red circle
resting precariously on a thin line.

In each of the paintings, the cartoon-like figures belie the menacing
subject and hint at the contradiction between one’s inner nature and
the external expression.

Thynal, part of the new generation of outspoken and critical artists,
has explored several themes that are socially-focused including
landmines, the environment and the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge. He
works as an art teacher at Mith Samlanh, one of the leading NGOs
working with vulnerable youth and their communities. He graduated from
Phare Ponleu Selpak (Battambang) in 2006 and his work has been
exhibited in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. This will be his second solo

“The Illusion of Permanence”

Sculptures by Sallyanne Morgan

Reflecting on Cambodia as it emerges from years of broken
infrastructure and into a new economic and social future, Sallyanne
Morgan’s sculptures are an observation of current lives and past
traditions with an underlying uncertainty for what may yet come.
During times of change, we often turn to familiar customs and as an
artist Sallyanne looks at the different symbols and rituals that
define and guide the individual through this process. She examines
this very private process through quiet meditative sculptures of
life-size figures.

In the exhibition there are three different series, all of them with a
polished white surface. One features the life-like figures of a woman,
a child and a man, each with protective tattoos engraved on them,
offering a more literal and private narrative. The second series shows
abstracted female torsos with a moving sphere in the middle that
suggests a deeper more internal conversation. Finally, the third
series of small figures balancing in various positions around a
central rod, a metaphoric gesture about adaptation to change.

The figures are displaced by their position in an active café/gallery
space, one that it is in contrast to their stillness. At times they
allow for a pause in the daily routine and at other times they
disappear into the background, patiently waiting.

Sallyanne Morgan was born in Ireland and studied sculpture at Colaiste
Conghaile in Dublin in 1995. She exhibited in Dublin and Cork and
worked as a Community Artist around the country. On moving to Phnom
Penh in 2001 she taught clay sculpture to young adults. This is her
first exhibition in Cambodia.

JavaArts features a series of exhibitions launching two at a time,
every 6-7 weeks in addition to monthly performances, poetry nights and
artist projects.

JavaArts is a non-for-profit gallery and platform for contemporary
visual arts in Cambodia. All profits go to support programming and
artist initiatives.

JavaArts is the culmination of over eleven years working in
contemporary visual arts in Cambodia. It was founded with the
establishment of Java Café & Gallery which offers an exhibition space
in a popular café, presenting the artwork in an accessible format.
Since 2000, the gallery has hosted over 100 exhibitions and
performances, including international collaborations and forums.

Office is located at 56 Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Office hours: Mon to Fri, 8:30am – 5:30pm

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