Artist: Hemalay Chan

* 1966 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

1980-1985 Studied Traditional Painting, Art School Phnom Penh

1985-1987 Studied to become a Restaurator in Torun (Poland)

Lives and works in Berlin since 1987.


There is one element which cannot be missing from this bear and that is the trademark of Cambodia, the temple shrine of "Angkor Wat" from the twelfth century.

This is why the bear is similar to the stone reliefs found thousands of times throughout the temple. A total view of Angkor Wat can be seen on the bear's chest. All other depictions show parts of the reliefs. On the stomach one can seen the temple dancers "Apsaras", on the back "Srei Krubleak", the ideal woman. The sides depict a scene from the Hindu creation myth, namely the struggle between good and evil.

More often than the chosen motifs, war scenes are depicted in Angor Wat. I consciously neglected these elements, even though wars in our recent history have made some of us truly "headless" (Pol Pot, for example). This is only a side aspect of the head's blackness, though.

Since the rediscovery of Angor Wat in the Cambodian jungle in 1860, tourists and archaeologists have stolen parts of the cultural heritage. Heads were and still are considered a highly treasured "find." Hence the black head - it stands for something which is no longer present.

Finally, a clue about the "scarf". It is called "Kroma" and it is the main article of clothing in Cambodia. It serves as a scarf, as sun protection, a bathing suit, a cloth for carrying a baby, etc., etc...

Hemalay Chen

Sponsor: Dr. Jackie Chan