A busy reception opened the joint exhibition by Geoff Croll and Janos Kis at 4FACES Cafe on the first saturday of the New Year. Amongst the crowd who came to see “SACRED…. and the nuns life” was a group of seven Buddhist monks, some of whom were also the subjects of the works that peeked into their hollowed lives. Hungarian Janos Kis focuses his study on the tattoo art adorning the bodies of Cambodian monks. Shyly, highlighting how monks usually keep these tattoos hidden, one monk showed me the tattoo wending its way down his calf.
The intricate Khmer and Pali script is attended to ward off harm, and is a long standing tradition amongst Khmer monks. The harm intended to be deflected by these coded charms has recently come to include bullets and bombs.
The focus of the Scot Geoff Croll’s first exhibition was the plight of nuns in Myanmar. Although taken from seven different locations all over the country, nuns are much more visible in the Southeast Asian country than in Cambodia, says Croll. Focusing on the attractive colour palette of the nuns’ habits (pinks and reds), Croll kept a respectful distance from the women, while also allowing us a glimpse into their lives.
The evening culminated with a blessing performed by the monks themselves.
Both photographers are part of the SEA/collectiv. (AsiaLIFE Guide/Nicky Mcgavin)