Cambodian Master Potter Yary Livan: A Life Shaped by Clay

During the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s, Yary Livan‘s training in traditional Cambodian ceramics put his life in dire peril. But later, it also saved him – and a centuries-old tradition found new roots in Lowell, Massachusetts.


Video features music by past Music Composition Fellow Scott Wheeler

Yary Livan’s (Traditional Arts Fellow ’12) story exemplifies how keepers of tradition not only maintain vital practices but also deeply enrich their cultural and local communities. Such work is proudly supported by MCC’s Folk Arts and Heritage Program.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council is celebrating 40 Years of Fellowships, exploring the stories of amazing artists Massachusetts has funded since 1975.

Video Credits: narrated by Maggie Holtzberg, recorded by Kelly Bennett, edited by Dan Blask, Massachusetts Cultural Council; music by Scott Wheeler (Music Composition Fellow ’05), “City of Shadows,” BMOP/sound ©2014, performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose; additional footage by Tom Pich and the National Endowment for the Arts; additional images by Adrien Bisson, Documentation Center of Cambodia, Middlesex Community College, and Tom Pich.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council gratefully acknowledges Middlesex Community College, the Parker Foundation, and Lowell National Historical Park for providing vital support to the building and maintenance of the Cambodian Wood-Fire Kiln referenced in this video.

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