Sopheak Sam: គ្រប់យ៉ាងក្នុងខ្សែភ្នែកអ្នកមិនមានខ្ញុំ (i love the way you see the world, but why can't you see me?)

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Two young boys with dark wavy hair, partially obscured by overlapping, abstract designs in shades of tan, green, and red.

Detail from Can't Take My Eyes Off of You (2024), wood, paper pulp, gauze, acrylic, marker, pencil, 48" x 72" x 2", from i love the way you see the world but why can't you see me? exhibition. image / provided

Exhibition Abstract

I sing our songs in the forest,
but you sweep away the temple dust
I conjure you in the future,
but cannot find you before enlisting
I gnaw at your waist and thigh,
but your breath is soft and fragile
I think of you oh-so often,
but only when the weaver ants come to march
I empty every drip of your honey,
but your fever still took me out

I hate the way you disappear, only to come back and hold me tight
I hate all of your impossibilities, but these promises weren't your lies
I hate the way you tell our story, only to drive home without a helmet
I love to pretend to know you, but your face is flushed from cognac
I love the moments you stopped me, only to read my fortune
I love the way your mouth curls to the song, but this karaoke is dead
I love the way you see the world, but why can’t you see me?

Working from a collection of family photographs as a point of departure, this exhibition engages with opacity to reveal and conceal suspended fragments of time, desire, intimacy, and inheritance. Engaging histories of postcoloniality and post-Cold War in Cambodia, i love the way you see the world, but why can’t you see me? resists "being" and points to horizons and vanishing points as counter-memorial sites of "becoming."

Exhibitor Biography

Sopheak Sam (M.F.A. '25) is an artist born in a refugee camp in Thailand and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts (ancestral homeland of the Pawtucket and Wamesit communities). Their work traces affect and intimacies across historical movements in Cambodian-U.S. migration to articulate formations of postwar subjectivity, queer spectrality, and transience and impermanence in sites of encampment.

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