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Cambodian ornaments
Stupa structure for Buddhist Temple, Cambodian ornaments, 2010; N. Chelmsford, Massachusetts;
Stupa structure for Buddhist Temple, Cambodian ornaments, 2010

N. Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Aspara panel wall decoration; Apprenticeship - Cambodian ornaments; 2010: Lowell, Massachusetts; Concrete cast from rubber mold; 24 x 72 in.
Carving design in clay; Apprenticeship - Cambodian ornaments; 2011: Lowell, Massachusetts; Clay; 20 x 14 in.
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Yary Livan
Lowell, MA
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Samnang Khoeun
Revere, MA
Yary Livan is one of three survivors of his class at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh Cambodia who have master level skills in Cambodian ceramics and temple ornamentation. The ceramics curriculum focused on traditional Khmer ceramic forms and ornamentation, students also had hands on access to the National Museum's collection of ancient Khmer artifacts. During the Khmer Rouge, Livan survived by using his knowledge of ceramics to build wood-burning kilns needed to manufacture roof tiles.

Emigrating to Lowell, Massachusetts in 2001, Livan set up a studio with support from a leader in the local Cambodian community. He is known throughout Lowell for his many artistic contributions to community celebrations, but he is held in particularly high regard by his generation of fellow Cambodian artists. Many in the community lament that throughout the Diaspora and in Cambodia as well, in the aftermath of the Pol Pot regime, people no longer have the knowledge to recognize the unique characteristics of Khmer design that distinguish it from Thai or Lao design. Livan's knowledge and skill in traditional ceramics and Khmer ornamentation is rare and at risk of being lost.

In Fall 2010, Yary Livan was awarded a Mass Cultural Council Apprenticeship to work with Samnang Khoeun. Although trained as an architect, Khoeun has no schooling in Cambodian vernacular design. This apprenticeship focuses on the basic design elements of Khmer art. These traditional designs, known as kbach, date back to the 11th century during the Angkor Wat era and represent the height of achievement in ornamental bas relief. Today, these elements of design can be seen in Cambodian ceramics and temple ornamentation. Instruction will include design, drawing, modeling, carving, mold making and resin casting.

In 2015, Yary Livan was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship.
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