SOCIAL BETTERMENT THROUGH THE ARTS
THROUGH THE ARTS
Painting, sculpture, music, literature and the other arts are often considered to be the repository of a society’s collective memory. Art preserves what fact-based historical records cannot: how it felt to exist in a particular place at a particular time. Art in this sense is communication; it allows people from different cultures and different times to communicate with each other via images, sounds and stories.Meta House uses art to promote social change. It has been more than 20 years since Cambodia started reforms and integration of its economy into the region and the world at large. There are some concrete development results such as the continuous high economic performance for the last three decades and the remarkable rate of poverty reduction However, there are outstanding issues and challenges that need to be dealt with in the fields of gender equality, human rights, education, employment or healthEstimated at over 50 billion Euros per year, the trafficking of counterfeit medicines is an extremely lucrative market for criminal organizations. In 2010, Meta House opened its second location with the “Pharmacide Arts Exhibition” to highlight the work of national artists and their perception of the problem, and to raise aware- ness and stimulate reflection and discussion on the subject of fake medicines. The exhibition represented works of art by 34 artists from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. As a travelling exhibition, the art was shown in each of the represented countries in Southeast Asia, as well as travelling to France.By using their art as an innovative medium for awareness, artists become advocates, challenging the biggest issues of our time. Meta House continues to commission Cambodian and foreign artists to focus on important topics such as national reconciliation and democratization, freedom of speech, women / girl empowerment, ethnic tensions, urbanization and land-loss, LGBTIQ stigmatization, environmental destruction and pollution or illegal logging. The success of Meta House underlines that looking at art provides an opportunity to exercise critical thinking, experience a renewed self-awareness, and potentially even a deeper connection to others and their experiences, as we share what we feel and try to interpret what we see.