“Mixing beeswax, tree resin, and dirt as paint is an old tradition, perhaps as old as painting itself. It was something I had seen during my travels to Europe and in Egyptian art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in my school days. Recently I’ve learned to mix ingredients properly and to source my materials locally. The Relief works are in a way a move back to painting for me. I build the support like a sculpture but other materials are applied like painting. My first trip to Ratanakiri Province in northern Cambodia was the inspiration for making this group of works. What used to be forests of tall trees all over the province are now mostly barren land with shrubs and occasionally a big tree with red flowers (trees where spirits live, so the locals believe). Ratanakiri wasn’t what I had expected to see from what people had described of it some five, six years ago: a beautiful mountainous province with villagers living off the land and speaking their own languages. What I saw was a region being taken for its resources by greed and villagers living in desperation. I made Fields of Ratanakiri and the Valley Drip to reflect the emotions I felt from that trip.” —Sopheap Pich
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cambodian Rattan: The Sculptures of Sopheap Pich," February 23, 2013–July 7, 2013.