Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture, Cambodia, embarked on a Cambodian Memory Bank project in 2002 where oral histories of elderly Cambodians were collected. This memory bank aimed to collect the memories of ordinary elderly Cambodians from the time they were young to the present. Through the recollection of each individual, an ‘unofficial history’ of Cambodia presented itself.
By drawing from the data base collected and conducting more specific interviews (especially with women), the focus shifted to the theme of clothing and the care of the self. This resulted in an exhibition, Seams of Change, which showed what people wore, how they sewed clothes, and how they took care of their bodies more than one hundred years ago, before the arrival of ‘modern’ commodities.
Seams of Change illuminates a time when people generally turned to their immediate environment for what they needed. The focus is on the clothing of ordinary people, rather than on the special clothing of the rich or the royal.
Exhibits at this exhibition will include line drawings of the clothes the Cambodian people wore in the 19th and 20th century, photographs of these clothes, as well as the different types of cosmetics used during that period. From the exhibition, we will begin to see the politics and history of Cambodia unfold.