I need you to know about “Phare, the Cambodian Circus”.
If you find yourself in Southeast Asia, you need to include Cambodia in your itinerary, you need to include Phare the Cambodian Circus in your itinerary, located in Siem Reap. Prioritize this as equal importance as visiting Angkor Wats temples and the monuments decided to the genocide of 1970.
Because these incredibly gifted humans are serving something in major lack- hope amidst the inhumane chaos. It is the ultimate statement to life- to say “hey, I went through hell. I survived. I want to take the gifts I have and put them to good use. I want to be of service, using my passions to carve a better world for other humans.”
Taken from their website, the background of Phare is retold.
“PPSA was founded in 1994 by nine young Cambodian men returning home from a refugee camp after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. At the camp they took drawing classes and found art to be a powerful tool for healing. When they returned home they began offering free drawing classes to street children. Soon they opened a school, eventually offering formal K-12 education and professional arts training in the areas of visual arts (illustration, painting, graphic design, and animation), theater, music, dance, and circus. Today more than 1,200 pupils attend the public school daily and 500 attend the vocational arts training programs. All programs are offered for free.”
I think we all have a reservoir of talent + passions, with equal amount of time spent enduring some really difficult times. We have an ability to do great things. Cambodia has gifted me the experience to witness the resilience and spirit of those who have endured unjustifiable hell, but choose to be kind and loving. A message I need in this chapter of my life.
It was REALLY hard to narrow down my favourite images of their life performance -“Khmer Metal”, a one hour performance themed to show light of the situations that Cambodian young adults are faced with. The show takes place in a bar, with topics intertwined including theft/corruption, homosexuality, and greed – among many other- woven together in rock music, dance, acting, acrobatics and heart stopping magic!
I chose to share these photographs in black and white to capture an introspective contrast to the vibrance and electricity that radiated from the performers. I’ve also been leaning more towards shooting in black and white this past week as it feels good for my soul- I’ve been feeling agitated and low with the absolute unknowns of my situation parred with watching home collapse into (a responsible) shut down. The world is a scary place right now, I feel, and it’s ok to change the lens and embrace the shades of grey.
I hope you enjoy the images, as they brought immense joy being able to be apart of this incredible experience as a spectator and human in awe of the creativity + resilience of those lit with passion.
PLEASE check out their website (https://pharecircus.org)
and PLEASE follow them on social media!
(follow the links for easy following)
Facebook: Phare, The Cambodian Circus
Instagram: Phare, The Camodian Circus