With local art garnering worldwide attention, explore these galleries and exhibition spaces to learn more about the Kingdom’s creatives
Showcasing the works of four talented artists, Romcheik 5 consists of a gallery and museum housed in a small complex in the backstreets of the creative hub of Battambang. The artists – Bor Hak, Hour Seyha, Nget Chanpenh and Mil Chankrim – are all graduates of the famous Phare Ponleu Selpak visual arts school and, according to gallery literature, share personal histories that feature “hard labour, distress and loneliness”. Their resulting works are powerful, diverse and symbolic of the rising talent that is seeing contemporary Cambodian art increasingly recognised on an international platform.
Photographer John McDermott’s stunning images of the temples of Angkor are rightly world famous. The American first visited Angkor more than 20 years ago to witness a total eclipse of the sun. Inspired, he continued going to the temples, capturing their shadows and light in ethereal portraits of the ancient site. See a collection of his fine art prints at McDermott’s two Siem Reap galleries, located at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor and FCC Angkor.
A connecting point for Cambodia’s vibrant Francophone community, the French Institute holds regular exhibitions in its dedicated gallery space. Set on the capital’s Street 184, with a motto of “la culture en partage” or “culture in sharing”, visitors can sip on an espresso at the in-house restaurant, experience its new digital movie theatre or even try a French language class. Previous exhibits have explored a diverse range of subjects, from iconic architect Le Corbusier to highlighting images produced by student photographers.
The Sa Sa Bassac gallery and resource centre in Phnom Penh has long been synonymous with memorable exhibitions, with recent shows featuring the work of well-known local artist Svay Sareth, who once dragged a huge aluminium ball across the country for his renowned work “Mon Boulet”. The centre, co-founded in 2011 by the Stiev Selapak artist collective and curator Erin Gleeson, is dedicated to “meditating and archiving” contemporary Cambodian visual culture, and is a highlight of the capital’s art scene.
The white walls of Battambang’s Sangker Art Space & Gallery, which opened in late 2014, are dedicated to displaying the work of a new generation of contemporary Cambodian artists. Stretching from Street 1½ to the riverside, a succession of peaceful rooms allows visitors plenty of time and space to appreciate the immense artistic flair on show. The space acts as a place where “people and art meet and share” and provides patrons a peek into the world of the young artists of modern Cambodia.