Buddhist Bug Exhibition Sets Up in Siem Reap

Performance art project The Buddhist Bug comes to Cambodia in December as part of a global tour to draw attention to themes of displacement and belonging.

The Buddhist Bug, showing from Dec. 21 to Jan. 20 in Siem Reap, is a humorous and provocative interdisciplinary performance by artist Anida Yoeu Ali that draws from iconography of both Islam and Buddhism. The artist embodies the 40-metre long orange bug, which follows a semi-autobiographical narrative, in carefully constructed scenarios. The resulting images capture encounters from the curious or apathetic onlookers.

Ali opened her solo exhibition, curated by JavaArts founder Dana Langlois, on Dec. 20 at the newly renovated The 1961 Gallery. The Siem Reap exhibition unveils new images never before seen or exhibited that explore the artistic, spiritual and political intersections of a hybrid transnational identity.

“Some of these vignettes are nostalgic ruminations dissecting the Diasporic dilemma, one that is caught between memory and reinvention,” says the artist. “For me, Siem Reap is the perfect site for an encounter with The Bug set against Cambodia’s iconic sites of rice fields, decaying colonial structures, ancient temples and tropical horizons.”

Born in Battambang, Ali is a first generation Muslim Khmer woman raised in Chicago. After living outside of Cambodia for over three decades, Ali returned to work in Phnom Penh. She has lectured, exhibited and performed globally, in places such as the Faroe Islands, Copenhagen and Ho Chi Minh City. A collaborative partner with independent media lab Studio Revolt, the artist has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts.

The Buddhist Bug will also be exhibited at the 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Malaysian Heritage Centre in Singapore, Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon and the 8th Asia Pacific Triennale in Queensland, Australia.

The 1961 Coworking and Art Space is located at 211 Osaphear Street, Siem Reap. Daily viewing hours from 10 am to 5 pm.