Chhin Taing Chhea was born in Takeo province in 1984. He got a degree in Modern Painting from Royal University of Fine Arts, where he is currently teaching Painting. He also studied photography at “Le Popil Gallery”. He has had several solo exhibition such as “Old Building” (2007), using a self-constructed pinhole camera to document the buildings which were being destroyed around Phnom Penh in the name of modernization, or the one for “Phnom Penh Photo” 2008 at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center. He has also participated in collective exhibitions as a collaborator of the SaSa Arts Group, such as “Inside /Out” with a proposal in between photography, installation and performance. The aim was to stimulate people to consider the contradictions and complex layers of a city emerging from war and moving into “modern life.”
Within Through Waters collaboration, Chhea has let the place guide his artwork. For a couple of days he traveled around Banlung getting in contact with different water bodies such as waterfall, lakes and rivers, and observed the way water was used by the minority groups.
As final his decision, Chhea chose to work with the minority who lives in Yeak Loam Lake, the tompuon community. He was interested in investigating the link between water and life and how one interacts with the other, filling each other in with sense. As a way to show this relationship, Chhea chose colour. Looking for an identification of people using tones and playing with reflections and transparency, Chhea developed a series of images with great beauty and power, in the midway of painting and photography.
At a dock by the crater lake, Chhea was painting a long white fabric that would give colour to the water with the reflection or through the water transparence. The colours changed with each participant, the shooting wasn’t too long as he was clear on what he wanted to express and how to do so, a few short guidelines to the participants was enough to capture the desired images .
His three photographs made up the series “Water and Life” was shown at UNESCO’s Cultural Centre in Ratanakiri and in Phnom Penh at Canon exhibition hall as a part of Through Waters final exhibition.