Skin Shade Night Day is the first major solo exhibition by Allison Chhorn which explores the daily routine and rituals practised by the artist’s Cambodian-Australian family. Reperformed and documented through a process of embodied empathy, acts of service, such as gardening and cooking, play out as echoes from the past across a sound and image installation displayed in a shade house. Spectres, shadows and aural textures conjure up impressions of a place that remembers how its inhabitants once lived.
As the daughter and granddaughter of Cambodian migrants, Chhorn’s work explores the personal and familial ricochets of the Khmer Rouge – a brutal political regime, from 1975-79, that claimed the lives of nearly two million Cambodians. Chhorn’s films obliquely approach the echoing traumas, memories, beliefs and behaviours of her family, particularly set against the Australian context.