Photos taken during The Memory Workshops (Les Ateliers de la Mémoire) at Bophana Center in Phnom Penh, 2009.
Painter, sculptor, engraver and author of more than twenty graphic novels, Séra is a complete artist.
Through his dynamic work, he leads us incessantly towards an ultimate questioning where the ideas of representation and authenticity in the work of art are confronted with living memory in all its complexity.
His singularly compelling body of work resounds in an unspeakable, heartrending beauty of expression and reveals an intimate dimension where images conceal as much as they reveal.
Séra was born in Phnom Penh in 1961. Upon completing his graduate and postgraduate studies in Fine Arts and the Science of Art at the Sorbonne University in Paris, he developped a parallel career as teacher and artist : painting, sculpture, drawing, engraving, and graphic novels. Notably, he is the author of a trilogy of graphic novels consecrated to the Cambodian tragedy : Impasse et rouge (1995, reedition 2003), L’eau et la terre (2005), Lendemains de cendres (2007). Since 1999, he has directed several graphic novel writing workshops at the French Institute in Phnom Penh as well as more engaged workshops primarily focusing on the aspect of visual art; notably, Les Ateliers de la Mémoire (Memory Workshops). The latter, which took place at the Bophana Audiovisual Centre served as an active and cathartic revisiting of the painful history of Cambodia by involving young people in the work of remembering a past which is at once as familiar as it is unknown. Through the uniquely expressive language of graphic novels, Séra seeks to extend beyond a simple transmission of the historical record from one generation to the next by offering to the Cambodian youth an opportunity to grasp their own history through artistic creation.
In 2007, he created an outdoor memorial sculpture for the Cambodian community in the city of Bussy-Saint-Georges. This emblematic monument to Those Without Names was installed on a roundabout since renamed : Phnom Penh Place.
Over 25 years, his work has been extensively exhibited both individually and collectively throughout France and Cambodia. In April 2012, the French Institute in Phnom Penh marked its 20th anniversary with a spectacular exhibition dedicated to the vast painted work of Séra. A catalog, published for the occasion, reveals 30 years of his creation. In Paris a few months later, the Galerie Oblique presented over a hundred of his drawings, storyboards, and watercolours alongside large canvas paintings exhibited for the first time.
In November of 2012, the revue Art Absolument selected Séra as one of the best contemporary artists in France of the last ten years; an important recognition that renders grace and homage to his great talent.
Additionally, Séra is known for his live-painting through intensive public performances. He has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships, most signficantly, from the Centre National des Lettres of France. He has maintained a valued teaching position at the Sorbonne since 1989 and in 2012 was named Curriculum Director of the Phare Ponleu Selpak School in Battambang, Cambodia. Currently, Séra is conducting ongoing research for his doctorate thesis at Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne under the direction of Yann Toma.