Same Same But Different
paintings by JULIA HAW
My name is Julia Haw and I am a Brooklyn-based oil painter who fell in love with Cambodia. I studied the highly charged temples of Angkor Wat in college, vowing to go one day and finally visited in 2015. When I left, the experience had completely stained my mind. During that brief stay, I met the founder of a highly interesting NGO called Colors of Cambodia, a 13-year running organization that offers free art education to all Khmer children. I requested and received a volunteer opportunity to work as a gallery and local school teacher for three months (Jan-March 2017), 25 hours per week. I intended to utilize the rest of my time mentally formulating and beginning a new painting series surrounding my observations and experiences. Through the location of Siem Reap, my intimate interactions with the locals, the historical darkness of the Khmer Rouge and the rough politics of this re-emerging culture, my series titled “Same Same But Different” began development in early 2017.
The context in which I entered Cambodia, as an artist specifically, is of course a dark one. The Khmer Rouge, formed in 1968, overthrew the democratic Khmer Republic and installed their own government. From 1975-1979 the Cambodian Genocide occurred and anyone educated was to be eliminated. This included scientists, musicians, artists, teachers and anyone that could read. To this day in Cambodia, there are extremely limited arts programs in the schools (unless provided by an NGO), and as a whole, artistic voices tend to be repressed by social and governmental aspects. I visited the soul-dampening Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, flew along the Bamboo Train in Battambang, visited the floating villages in Kompong Khleang and ate spicy crickets, all the while gathering nuanced imagery for the series.
Same Same But Different examines the similarities and differences between Southeast Asian and Western cultures, utilizing political and historical realities, social interactions and humour. It will be a colorful display of paintings created over the course of 2017. I highly implore you to come see this spiritually enigmatic place in the world.
“Same Same But Different” will run from 11th – 31st January, 2018.
READ MORE: Interview with Julia Haw // 7 Jan 2018
About the Artist
Julia HAW (b. 1982, Flint, MI) attended Western Michigan University with a concentration in painting and is recognized for creating bold, memory-staining works. She addresses personal and immediate social issues, and most presently, global and political issues, as well as topics as feminism, ageism, memory deterioration, intimacy, death and confrontational experience. She uses oil paint on cotton or linen as her mainstay medium, in order to achieve empathetic coverage of these socially and emotionally shared issues, and has been able to achieve considerable viewer pause through her dedicated work habit, vibrant color choices, straightforward subject matter, and by using people and objects within her community as models. Haw’s paintings tend to function as highly relatable, resulting in ensuing discussion amongst viewers, and bringing the public forum necessarily back.
Her work has been exhibited in places such as the Chicago Cultural Center, IL State Museum, in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and extensively with curator and dealer Claire Molek.
The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.