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Losing My Religion

Sopheak Sam’s sculptural video installation, ការបាត់បង់សាសនារបស់ខ្ញុំ Losing My Religion (2021) forms a space where multiple diasporic Cambodian visual cultures collide. ការបាត់បង់សាសនារបស់ខ្ញុំ Losing My Religion is an iteration of Sam’s previous work, Holiday in Cambodia (2018) but differs in its source material and altar-like structure. Drawing inspiration from Theravada Buddhism’s notions of animism—the belief that objects have a spiritual essence—Sam assembles an altar that references popular media from the post-Khmer Rouge era: 80s and 90s karaoke music videos ↗, Haing S. Ngor’s iconic Oscar speech , movie and documentary clips , and other videos sourced from Youtube.

From afar, the work appears as if someone has left all the living room TVs turned on; as if they were flipping through the channels trying to find themselves reflected on the screen. A closer look reveals a collection of videos that Sam has woven into objects found in everyday Cambodian households—កន្ទេល “kɑnteil” (leisure mats), ខ្នើយ “khnaəy” (ornate silk pillows), ភួយ “phuəy” (blankets), ចានស្រាក់ “caan sraak” (tiffin carriers) and temple trays. By embedding popular imagery directly onto quotidian objects, Sam begins to reflect on the ways in which entertainment media becomes a point of departure for cultural transmission and the articulation of diasporic identities.

Suriya Khuth


Minnesota Museum of American Art
Robert Street Window Gallery
St Paul, MN
Sutures Exhibition
Curated by:
Suriya Khuth

Video documentation

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Exhibition Documentation

Losing My Religion, 2021. Installation view, Sutures, Minnesota Museum of American Art, St Paul, Oct 30, 2021 – Feb 20, 2022. Photo by Nicole Thomas. © Sopheak Sam

Photo by Nicole ThomasPhoto by Nicole ThomasPhoto by Drew Arrieta

Source Videos

Sopheak Sam Logo with floral line graphic  

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