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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Miss Igorota and Le Big Brother

Okay, this title was borrowed from someone who left a comment for a similar photo I posted in my other blog *lol*

Miss Igorota and Le Big Brother

While Jersey Iggy was ice-skating back there in the US, Khmer Iggy and I were among the curious onlookers outside the French Embassy. The objects of our curiousity were 17 black and white prints of giant eyes - spread across more or less 300meters of wall - peering back at us. Most of the eyes were wide open, as if in shock or surprise, while others are narrowed or closed. Somewhere written unobtrusively was the message of the artist saying that the photographs are a comment on women and domestic violence. The series of photographs caused a huge stir, according to newspaper reports, with a large crowd of people gathering and spilling out to the curb, with varying reactions and opinions. Miss Iggy and I would have enjoyed eavesdropping on them.

When we went there, the crowd had already disappeared so taking a photo of Miss Iggy was easy. The man behind this photography is a French photographer/artist known only as JR, and, I was told by Fortuitous Faery, he has had his artworks displayed in many countries already.

The French Embassy in Phnom Penh is located at the corner of Monivong Boulevard and Street 76. It figured prominently when it was used as a refuge of expatriates and Cambodians when Brother Number One Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge troops took over the city in April 17,1975. A few days later, Embassy officials turned over the many Cambodians hiding there, complying to the demands of the Khmer Rouge. All of them were either executed or sent to labor camps, where only a few survived.

Did you see the movie The Killing Fields? Maybe it's about time you should. I had my "brushing elbows with the famous" moment when I met Al Rockoff, the photographer/character played by John Malkovich in the movie, through my former boss. At that time, I had no idea that he is THE Al Rockoff! Drat. Anyways, Wikipedia said that he was not particularly happy with the portrayal of his character. According to the Wiki:

Rockoff tried to forge a passport for Dith Pran using an old passport belonging to Jon Swain. He is incensed at the way the 'Killing Fields' movie portrayed this, particularly scenes which appear to show him incompetently fixing up a dark room and chemical solution while a photo of Pran fades away. In reality, Pran had an old photograph which Rockoff successfully attached to a passport. Eventually, Pran left the embassy of his own volition. As a result of this discrepancy, Rockoff and another journalist named Denis Cameron have publicly disassociated themselves from the movie.


fortuitous faery said...

i came across a magazine article which showcased his other works in other countries in the most unlikely places! he refuses to reveal his real name for risk of prosecution because most of his photos were plastered illegally. it's a bold statement in support of abused women...will post about this in my blog soon! :)

I am Harriet said...

This is so cute!

Anonymous said...

The picture looked scary, though...hihihi...sowee...

Four-eyed-missy said...

FF, I like JR's style... *lol* thanks for the additional info. Someday we will do something like that -- showing all of Ms. Igorota's postcards. Reunion sa Manila?

Harriet and Doi, the artwork did evoke varied reactions -- some locals were scared or found it spooky, a few were annoyed and there were a handful who said it's cute... but that's art. It's always subjective :) Thanks for visiting.

fortuitous faery said...

sreisaat: a miss iggy reunion in manila/cainta would be fab! (crosses fingers) one of the reasons why miss iggy started traveling was ging's suggestion that if she had enough photos, she might end up in a photo exhibit somewhere. :P but for now, our "gallery" is this blog.

thanks for letting me use your original photo in my blog. and you have a good point...art is supposed to elicit emotions: good or bad. if it didn't have any effect on you, then is it worthy of being classified as "art"? :P

yes, when i visited JR's site, i was in awe. now that's a fearless photographer!

gingmaganda said...

is cool this one, i've always wanted to do a non-commercial artwork this big. haha.

fortuitous faery said...

ging: wouldn't it be great if they had artists put their works in public places in manila? or around the philippines. you know, real art, not just the "metro guapo" project they have. haha.

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