Kate O’ Hara

Talk & Screening Programme: Champa Battambang!: Live Art

This presentation of video art and documentation illustrates the emergence of live art on the streets of Battambang with a particular focus on the phenomenon of ‘live painting’ or what one might call action painting. Artists graduated from Battambang’s Phare Ponleu Selpak art school (Cambodia’s largest, independent art school) are spearheading the movement are intent on a revival of the cultural capital. The interventions, often accompanied by a musical score, take art to the streets engaging the accidental local audience in highly politized thematics.

The namesake of this program is derived from a popular Cambodian song Champa Battambang! (Flower of Battambang) by Sinn Sisamouth. The lyrics are an ode to the city of Battambang and its beauty by the leading musician of the 1960’s golden era of Cambodian Music.

Oh Battambang!

The centre of my heart!

It was hard to say goodbye

Since the day I’ve been away from you

I worry and think about you every time

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Kate O’Hara has been the curator at Romeet Contemporary Art Space in Phnom Penh, Cambodia since its opening in 2011. During her 5 years in the country Kate has worked with a range of arts organisations as a curator and researcher including, Khmer Arts, Heinrich Bolle Foundation, Javaarts and the Our City Festival. Prior to her move to Cambodia, she has worked in public programs and curatorship, for such organizations as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Next Wave Arts Festival, as well as independently on projects with Australian artists. Her experience is tied together by her interest in the arts, and its potential as a tool for communication and critical exchange in society. Kate also works as part of collaborative lab, artXprojects (with Natalie Pace), which focuses on the creation of relational and participatory art.


photo by Romeet Gallery


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