"Puppets Beyond Borders"

A Photo Documentation by Anders Jiras

Southeast Asia has a long-standing and very rich tradition in the art of puppetry. The forms of expression are as diverse as the countries themselves, reaching from the famous shadow plays to Vietnamese water puppetry to string- or stick-controlled marionettes.

Puppets Beyond Borders was an exceptional artistic exchange that brought together puppeteers and musicians from Germany, France, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand in October and November 2011. The artists engaged in workshops in Chiangmai, Phnom Penh and Yangon, where they encountered the different stylistic, technical and contentual approaches to the art of puppetry. Together they prepared performances in each city weaving together their newly developed plays centering on the theme "Home".

A Burmese/Cambodian film team accompanied the tour and produced a joint documentary about this very unique artistic exchange. The film premieres on the Opening Night of this exhibition.

Puppets Beyond Borders was a joint initiative by the the French Institutes of Cambodia and Myanmar and the Goethe-Institut in collaboration with Empty Space Chiangmai, the German Embassy in Yangon and the Meta House Phnom Penh. This French-German collaboration was supported by the Elysée-Fund.

Anders Jiras (67) is a Swedish professional photographer. He has had a professional photography career in architecture and studio work with a photographic interest in the creative arts, painting, sculpture, acting and dance.

"The cambodian classical dance and the other performing arts here gave me a new start and an object for study. I first came to Cambodia in 2005 and have had two exhibitions of Cambodian dance in Sweden in 2006-2007, followed by an exhibition at the National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh 2010-11, an exhibition at the Museum of Dance, Stockholm, 2011 and received a grant from the Adlerberth Foundation, Gothenburg for my Cambodian photography 2012."