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Phare, the Battambang Circus

est. 1994, Battambang, Cambodia
Live and work in Battambang, Cambodia

Phum Style, 2005, 2019

Performance, documentation of performance, and bamboo and painting on canvas (2 panels)
performance duration 1:10:00 mins; 330 x 330 x 84 cm (each)
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2019 commission

Phare (“the Brightness of the Arts”), the Battambang Circus, betters the lives of children, young adults and their families with art schools, education programmes and social support. The collective was formed by nine young Cambodian men with their French teacher after returning from a refugee camp in 1994. SB2019 presents the circus, Phum Style. The story revolves around a young man who returns to his village after living in the big city. He tries to turn his village into a modern one but many do not approve. This tension between the modern and the customary sustains a narrative about love, change and the effects of life in the city and the countryside.


Production supported by: Far East Organization
Performance venue supported by: Far East Plaza
Images courtesy of the Artists

Phare, the Battambang Circus (est. 1994, Battambang, Cambodia) was formed 20 years ago. More than just a circus, Phare performers use theatre, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories, historical, folk and modern tales. In addition to performing, Phare artists also do the set and props, making the enterprise a self-sufficient ecology of a grassroots creative economy. In Phare, the artists are students and graduates from the Phare Ponleu Selpak’s (PPS) vocational training centre in Battambang. They are based in Battambang, Cambodia