Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ancient faces loom large at X-EM mask exhibition

Ancient faces loom large at X-EM mask exhibition

Ancient faces loom large at X-EM mask exhibition

1109027d_03
Em Riem stands by his golden masks in the Eternity exhibition at La Galerie X-EM Design.

ARTIST Em Riem has put a new – and daunting – face on Khmer culture with Eternity, his fifth exhibition at La Galerie X-EM Design, the studio owned by his design company.

The exhibition contains 14 sculpted masks, depicting the fearsome faces seen in ancient carvings and temples.

“Those figures show a side of divinity that we have never obviously seen, and that people often use to scare little kids. When other artists and I were young, we always imagined those pictures in our minds, with the long mouths, rectangular noses, big eyes, and so on. That’s what brought me to mold these sculptures,” Em Riem told 7Days.

In bringing the ancient legends to life, Em Riem said he added some new touches – but each artwork is firmly rooted in traditional designs.

“I have not created the faces, they have been around since the Angkor period when Khmer people respected the spirits of stones, trees, land and water… but I wanted to bring them into contemporary
decoration.

“I want to show off our fascinating history through an arts perspective to people all over the world, to show that Khmer culture has something else besides ancient temples, Angkor décor, and the Khmer Rouge genocide museum.”

Em Riem said that the title Eternity refers to the timelessness of the legends, and serves as a reminder of the fact that they have endured since the early Angkor empire era.

“For me, two hundred years is a long time, so the title Eternity casts perspective on the Khmer temples and sculptures, which are thousands of years old.”

Also at the gallery is Em Riem’s water colour painting based on Tuol Sleng, and abstract artwork by French-based painter Thav Sovan. Visiting the gallery is free for Khmer patrons.

Eternity will be showing until November at La Galerie X-EM Design, # 13, Street 178, Phnom Penh.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all

  • Ex-RFA journos accuse outlet

    Two former Radio Free Asia journalists held a press conference yesterday claiming they are each owed $28,000 by the US-funded radio broadcaster, which shuttered its in-country operations in September amid a government crackdown on independent media. The journalists, Sok Ratha and Ouk Savborey, maintained they organised