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8/18/13 A tour of the Siem Reap art scene | Travelfish on Cambodia

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Jul 02 2011

A tour of the Siem Reap art scene

Published by Nicky Sullivan at 5:39 am under Sightseeing & activities

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Unlike the capital city Phnom Penh, the art scene in Siem Reap has been a little slow to take off. But, for those
with an interest there is much to be seen here, and since finding it also involves exploring different parts of the
town too, well that just adds to the sense of adventure and discovery.

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Fragments, by Blake, at the Hotel de la Paix.

At the heart of the arts scene in Siem Reap is the Arts Lounge at the Hotel de la Paix which hosts revolving
two-month exhibitions with an emphasis on Cambodian artists and international artists with a strong connection to
Cambodia. The quality here is very high and tends toward the contemporary, with past exhibitions including work
by internationally-renowned Cambodian artist, Sopheap Pich, or by international visitors such as Blake, whose
work highlighting the continuing menace of landmines in Cambodia, Fragments, has toured the globe.
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The curator is Sasha Constable, a British artist who has been living here since 2000, and her own work can
sometimes be seen here or at other galleries in town, such as The Alliance Caf, or at the McDermott Gallery at
the FCC. According to Constable, Siem Reap has plenty of potential for a vibrant art scene, though we need an
entrepreneur to not only recognise this but also follow up the challenge with adequate finances to design and
implement a new cultural centre.

Notwithstanding that, she highlights a number of venues that will interest art lovers, including Theams House,
1961, the Art Deli, the McDermott Galleries, and the Angkor Photo Festival Gallery.

Constable is also responsible for the creation of the Thev Gallery at the Hotel de la Paix, which will become a
permanent showcase for the work of Bangkok-based Australian artist Robert Powell, whose minutely detailed
drawings of Angkor are highly acclaimed. From July 5, there will be an exhibition in support of the landmine
clearance NGO The Halo Trust of works by British artist Nic Grey and local artist Chath Piersath.

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We live inside a dream, by Nic Grey.

A recent addition to the scene is Theams House. This little oasis can be a little difficult to find, but is without
question a huge step-up for Siem Reap and worth the effort. Theam is a restlessly creative individual, which can
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8/18/13 A tour of the Siem Reap art scene | Travelfish on Cambodia

be seen in every aspect of his self-designed studio/home. His media include lacquers, painting, and sculpture, with
pieces that are uniquely expressive of Theam while also maintaining a strong Khmer ethic.

A combination of special light, colour and the extraordinary atmosphere of Angkor has ensured a constant stream
of photographers to Siem Reap. One of the ones who stayed is John McDermott, a soft-spoken American whose
images exquisitely capture the ethereal nature of the immense stone structures of Angkor, and have now achieved
iconic status. He has two galleries, one at the FCC Complex, and one on The Passage beside Pub Street.

Not far from the McDermott Gallery on The Passage, the Art Deli on Alley West is a home for the work of
young, developing local artists and a range of madcap art by the owner Loven Ramos. This place is also a bar,
performance art centre, reading room, caf and creative engine-room for anyone who seems to come near it.
Ramos is also the owner of the highly esoteric riverside hotel/gallery The 1961.

Dy Proeung's Urn.

Sasha Constable believes that the scene in Siem Reap can only keep getting better, and draws attention to a
number of artists who are now choosing to move to Siem Reap, including Svay Sareth and his wife Maline, and
young artist Leang Seckon, whose work has been shown in Tokyo and London. They are joining the likes of Dy
Proeung, a Cambodian master artist, whose reproductions of Angkor can be found at his museum, on the east side
of the river two roads north of Route 6, behind Rosy Guesthouse (look for the signs on the road).

Hotel de la Paix
Sivutha Boulevard
T: (063) 966 000

Alliance Caf
7 Makara Street
T: (017) 809 010

McDermott Galleries
The Passage (Pub Street area)
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& The FCC Complex (Pokambor Avenue)

T: (012) 615 695

Theams House
No. 25, Phum Veal, Khum Kokchak
T: (012) 70 21 39

The Art Deli

Alley West

The River Road, Upper West Side
T: (015) 378 088

Further reading

El Dealbreakers Kampuchea Tour 2011

Gay-friendly hotels and bars in Siem Reap
Getting a fish foot massage in Siem Reap
Medical care in Siem Reap
How to report suspected child abuse in Siem Reap

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Tags: art, galleries, photographs, sculpture

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to A tour of the Siem Reap art scene

1. # Angkor Photo Festival | Travelfish on Siem Reapon 09 Nov 2011 at 1:33 pm

[...] is one of the core elements of Siem Reaps emerging artistic scene, a sign of its confidence and capacity
to host important events, and an investment in the future of [...]

2. # Cambodian photographer Mak Remissa on show in Siem Reap | Travelfish on Siem Reapon 02 Dec 2011
at 3:03 pm

[...] second series of fine art photographs, Water is Life, is now on show in the Arts Lounge at the Hotel de
la Paix, where it will stay until December 15 and is freely open to the public. The [...]

3. # Photography tours and courses in Siem Reap | Travelfish on Siem Reapon 08 Jan 2012 at 12:27 pm

[...] Cambodia is a photographers dream, and the mystical Angkorian complex especially has drawn artists
of all kinds since its rediscovery in the 19th century. An early image of Angkor Wat from Henri [...]

4. # Clothes shopping in Siem Reap | Travelfish on Siem Reapon 31 May 2012 at 5:32 am

[...] of the most exciting things about Cambodia today however is how it has drawn in so many creatives
who find expressive space in the freedom that Cambodia offers. Which means that though theyre [...]

5. # A tour of the Siem Reap art scene | Travelfish on Cambodia | Tour Cambodiaon 06 Jun 2012 at 9:24 pm

[...] from: A tour of the Siem Reap art scene | Travelfish on Cambodia Useful [...]

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