Not Currently on Display
The Buddhist Bug, Into the Night forms part of Anida Yoeu Ali’s ongoing series of videos, photographs and performances entitled ‘The Buddhist Bug’. The project centres around a creature she refers to as ‘the bug’, created by lengths of an orange tubular costume, worn and performed by Ali. Resembling a monk’s robe in colour, it was inspired by Ali’s fascination with Buddhism while belonging to a small minority community as a Khmer Muslim woman. The costume has now reached 100 metres in length. The artist appears as the creature’s head, with a mysterious pair of feet extending from the other end.
In a host of carefully staged scenarios, the bug inhabits locations around Cambodia with slow movements and small gestures as it infiltrates various urban and rural environments, capturing the encounters with the curious, amused and apathetic onlookers. The bug appears as something alien and carries out strange interactions, but the project has also enabled Ali to capture the rapidly changing urban and rural landscapes of Cambodia in a unique way, presented through poetically produced photographic and video documentation.
Anida Yoeu Ali is a Cambodian artist who is beginning to gain international acclaim for her work across performance, video, installation, public encounters and political agitation. She has recently become known for her series ‘The Buddhist Bug’, which commenced in 2012, and comprises photographs, performances and video works.
Born in the city of Battambang in north-western Cambodia, Ali belongs to a generation of children that left Cambodia around the time of the Khmer Rouge (1975-79), who have recently begun to return. In the past decade, several diasporic artists have made this return to their homeland of Cambodia, giving a voice to the large number of refugees that were displaced through this recent history. The return of artists like Ali fills a void within Cambodia’s artistic community, as nearly an entire generation of more senior artists was lost through the purges of the Khmer Rouge.