Cambodian Sequential Artist Svay Ken: 1933 – 2008

Svay Ken

Gifted artist Svay Ken passed away today at the age of the age of 76.
[Above: self-portrait from The Advisor #4]



His most recent exhibition – ‘Sharing Knowledge‘ – was at Bophana Centre in October.
A avid attendee of visual art showings, he refused to let his failing health keep him from coming, and showed up in a wheelchair to greet an attentive crowd.

One who is proud of his social status, who does not care for his relatives and friends and even looks down on them is subject to ruin.

The show’s new paintings focused his keen moral lens on the challenges of living life appropriately in a challenging and confusing modern world. For what he sensed what might be his last show, the artist wanted to impart a message, and did it quite directly.

To children, parents are the God Brahma, god of creation, the best masters and highly honorable. To other living beings also, they are saviors. Parents are meritful. Their merit is as heavy as the earth. It is priceless, even a golden mountain cannot be compared to it.


Two of his most powerful collections of paintings memorialized his wife Tith Yun, and Reyum’s Ingrid Muan in illustrated narratives. The former was collected in a book called ‘Painted Stories’.

Svay Ken’s gentle, persistent influence provided a cornerstone for the development of contemporary visual art in Cambodia. The loss will be felt deeply by the art community and those who knew him.

Tags: comics

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