via The Michigan Daily, 08 February 2024: The University of Michigan Museum of Art’s new exhibit, “Angkor Complex: Cultural Heritage and Post-Genocide Memory in Cambodia,” showcases over 80 pieces from ancient artifacts to modern art by Cambodian artists like Sopheap Pich. It explores Cambodia’s history, the impact of the genocide, and the significance of cultural repatriation, with a focus on the iconic Angkor Wat. The exhibit aims to present a multifaceted view of Cambodian culture and history through a diverse range of artworks and themes.
The University of Michigan Museum of Art unveiled a new exhibition on Saturday titled “Angkor Complex: Cultural Heritage and Post-Genocide Memory in Cambodia.” The exhibit features more than 80 pieces ranging from 12th century artifacts to works by contemporary Cambodian artists such as Sopheap Pich. It was supported by a variety of grants including those awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Arts and Cultural Council and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
Visitors can explore artifacts of the French protectorate in Cambodia, as well as artwork related to coping with trauma and healing from the Cambodian genocide, spirituality and cultural repatriation. A key focus of the exhibit is Angkor Wat, a state temple of the Khmer Empire built in the 12th century and now regarded as a national symbol for Cambodians.
The exhibit has three sections: the first focuses on the history of Cambodia and Angkor Wat, the second on the ways loss is experienced and understood today, and the third on cultural repatriation, the line of inquiry regarding returning cultural artifacts to their country of origin. Guest curator Nachiket Chanchani, associate professor of art history, told The Michigan Daily that the themes of this exhibit work together in complex ways.