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Selfishness on display at Java Cafe


A Cambodian artist has transcribed the selfish nature of man into a series of seven paintings called My Selfish Family showing at Java Café and Gallery until February 19.

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Former Phare Ponleu Selpak arts student Ben Thynal, 27, turned the paint brush against his family to illustrate one of Cambodia’s greatest social issues.

“I would like to show the selfish and immoral nature of most Cambodian families, which needs to be improved,” he said.

By depicting families, Ben Thynal paints something intimate and personal while hinting at society as a whole.

“Even though I can’t change society as a whole, I hope my paintings will bring messages to develop change starting within families,” said Ben Thynal.

“If the country is full of selfish and immoral people, then the country itself is dishonorable and will be more difficult to develop.”

Among the seven paintings is one which depicts a mother with long snake-like arms trying to catch her children. A ‘thought bubble’ shows her dreaming of playing cards.

“The mother preys upon her own children to make money that she will then waste on gambling,” he said.

Ben Thynal studied painting for six years at Phare Ponleu Selpak private arts school in Battambang. He is now an art teacher at Friends Organisation in Phnom Penh.

He likes to explore other socially focused themes like the environment, the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge and landmine issues.

‘My Selfish Family’ is on display everyday from 6pm to 9pm until February 19 at Java Café & Gallery, 56 Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh.

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