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Ulan : special film screening curated by Vanini BelarminoHosted by ArtHub CopenhagenBIO 1711 in Kø

Curator Vanini Belarmino presents a twin-bill featuring films by Kiri Lluch Dalena (The

Philippines) and Khvay Samnang (Cambodia) on 24 August 2022.

Referencing ulan, the Filipino word for rain, as the point of departure, these works touches

on the power and wrath of nature. Ulan takes on the role of the invisible protagonist and

antagonist in the films as the characters deal with their own suffering caused by the

extreme pour of water from the heavens as well as the consequences of its absence. Ulan,

as nature designed it — is necessary for survival, yet it can also drown and destroy. It can

be a source of abundance and scarcity; jubilation and sorrow; resolution and healing.

Similarly, with ulan naturally flowing and touching the ground, trickling down to wet the soil,

the films similarly permeates the rawness of storytelling considering the perspective of

young children.

In Dalena’s Tungkung Langit and Khvay’s Calling for Rain, both artists take root on

resounding themes from the Philippine and Cambodia epics as their lens allow the harsh

and present day realities of climate change, natural disaster, displacement and

environmental destruction to surface. This programme follows the lead of the artists in

opening up pertinent conversations affecting our society, while also introducing another

while creating an opportunity to present the another artistic language through Southeast

Asian films.

With support from the Danish Arts Foundation.


Tungkung Langit (Lullaby for a Storm)

by Kiri Lluch Dalena

Philippines, 2012

20 minutes and 35 seconds

Language: Visayan

Tungkung Langit is a title that refers to the god in the Panay epic whose tears

become rain, but in the short film, two young children do not weep but offer

an intimate perspective into their lives as they speak to each other about their

experience during a typhoon that devastated their city and left them orphans.

Speaking to each other of their trauma through play and in the smallest of

whispers before falling asleep becomes “a means by which these orphans

heal”; the film reinforces and envisions this healing

About Kiri Dalena

Kiri Dalena (b. 1975, Philippines) is a visual artist and filmmaker known for

her works that lay bare the social inequalities and injustices that continue to

exist, particularly in the Philippines. Her active involvement in the mass

struggle to uphold human rights amidst state persecution is the foundation for

her art practice, which underscores the relevance of protest and civil

disobedience in contemporary society.

Dalena works both as an individual and in collectives, such as Southern

Tagalog Exposure (active 2001–2008) and RESBAK (Respond and Break the

Silence Against the Killings, 2016–present). She studied Human Ecology at

the University of the Philippines Los Baños and 16mm Documentary

Filmmaking at the Mowelfund Film Institute. Dalena has been an activist since

her student days at the University and remains a member at large of

KARAPATAN, a national alliance of human rights organizations, desks and

individual advocates working for the promotion and protection of human rights

in the Philippines. Her works have been shown in multiple exhibitions

internationally, such as documenta 15 (2022), Berlin Biennale (2020), Manila

Biennale (2018), Shanghai Biennale (2018), Jakarta Biennale (2017), Asia

Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2015), Fukuoka Asian Art Trienniale

(2014), and Singapore Biennale (2013).


Calling for Rain

by Khvay Samnang

Cambodia, 2021

30 minutes and 42 seconds

Calling for Rain is inspired by Reamker, the Cambodian version of the epic

poem Ramayana. The film takes the viewers on a journey through the

landscapes of Cambodia as it follows Kiri, The Monkey on his quest to save

the dying forest and its surrounding environment. The story starts after he

meets and falls in love with Konkea, The Fish, and depicts the struggles he

must overcome after the loss of his home in the forest. As the story unfolds, it

becomes clear that the problems of the forest and its surrounding fields and

rivers are linked to the irresponsible behaviours of Aki, the Fire Dragon.

About Khvay Samnang

Khvay Samnang (b. 1982, Cambodia) is a visual storyteller whose works at

the intersection of art and social justice. Intrinsic to his work is his personal

and direct engagement with local communities. For over a decade Khvay’s

works have examined the relationship between humans and nature through

the lens of Cambodia’s environmental crisis. Khvay draws on spiritual

ecologies to express the humanitarian challenges faced by these

communities in contemporary times who are losing their lands and traditions

due to deforestation, unchecked development, land grabbing and forced

population displacement. Khvay’s works have been widely exhibited in

museums like Haus der Kunst, Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara,

Orange County Museum of Art, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Helsinki Art

Museum, National Gallery Singapore, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Rockbund

Art Museum, and Art Gallery of New South Wales among others. He has

participated in the Bangkok Biennale, Biennale of Sydney and documenta 14

and 15.

A graduate of Painting from the Royal University of Fine Art in Phnom Penh,

he is a founding member of Stiev Selapak, an art collective dedicated to

reappraising and remembering Cambodian history and exploring continuities

in visual practices disrupted by civil war and the Khmer Rouge regime.

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