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2021 NCECA Concurrent Exhibition organized by Soe Yu Nwe

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Amy Lee Sanford

Remembering and Healing

Exploring the intersection of trauma and healing, Amy Lee Sanford creates durational performances in which she breaks and reassembles Cambodian utilitarian clay pots. In refiguring the pot's broken shards, she reflects personal cycles of destruction and repair, and the cultural destruction and death associated with the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s. This excruciatingly exact and labor intensive process of mending each and every fragments of the broken pot is, after all, a poetic attempt to recollect and heal the personal as well as national wounds.

-Soe Yu Nwe

Full Circle

Durational performance, sculpture and installation.
First performed at Meta House, (Phnom Penh) with support from Java Arts.


For her debut performance piece and on the eve of her fortieth birthday in Phnom Penh, the artist sat silent on the floor surrounded by a circle of forty utilitarian Cambodian clay pots. During six consecutive days, she dropped and shattered each pot, then reattached the shards with glue and string before returning the repaired pot to the circle. This performance reflects upon sudden change in the human experience, and the slow process of repairing and rebuilding within the personal, community, national and global realms

Photo Credits: Chean Long and Amy Lee Sanford


Break Pot Sketch | Tree Island

Second in a series of four, Break Pot Sketch: Tree Island places a slow, quiet, solitary task in the middle of a bustling, cacophonous intersection in Phnom Penh. The artist stands on a circular cloth on the sidewalk, and from shoulder height, drops one ordinary Kompong Chhnang (Cambodian) clay pot, which shatters upon impact with the hard ground. She then attempts to reassemble the broken pot with glue. This repair process is slow, exacting and deliberate, similar to most processes of repair, whether the repair be physical, personal, psychological, societal, national or global.

Background image credit: Lauren Iida


Break Pot Sketch: Tree Island, Durational performance, 2013

Break Pot Sketch | Banteay Samre

Break Pot Sketch: Banteay Samre, Durational performance, 2013

Last in a series of four, Break Pot Sketch: Banteay Samre shows the same slow, quiet, task of breaking and repairing a Cambodian clay pot, but in the backdrop of one of Cambodia’s ancient temples. Banteay Samre (Citadel of the Samre mountain people) was built in the 12th century CE, and is a Hindu temple in the same architectural style as Angkor Wat. The stillness of the early morning, when this Break Pot Sketch took place, lends a dreamy, timeless quality to the performance.


Break Pot Sketch | Container Port

Break Pot Sketch:Container Port, Durational performance, 2013 

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Building Again

Commissioned by Our City Festival 2012 (Phnom Penh), and performed at Sothearos Park, Building Again consisted of people demolishing a freestanding 3m by 2m brick wall (built specifically for the performance), with sledgehammers and other hand tools. A large group of neighborhood children came and played with the rubble, and joined the second part of the performance. Collectively, the bricks were chiseled clean by hand, and used to rebuild the wall. The result was a wall approximately 25cm high by 3m long.

Background image credit: Vinh Dao


Building Again, video documentation, 2012


Pencil and ink on paper
8.6" x 11"



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