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Artists’ auction to raise funds for Japan

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A GROUP of Cambodian artists has banded together to organise an auction of paintings next Monday, April 4, to aid relief efforts after the Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Organiser Poy Chhunly, whose idea it was to run an auction and event at FCC restaurant, said: “I have been watching events unfold since the occurrence, but I didn’t know how to help those who have lost family members and lacked food, clothing and had no houses.”

So far he has managed to contact about 40 established artists who will bring their own works to be auctioned on the night, while another 100 paintings or so by new artists will be sold without a reserve price for those who appreciate rural landscape art.

“My aim is to show solidarity and mutual help during emergency, and another of my aims is that I want our society that does not understand art to understand art, to help each other based on their ability via art, and I would like to bring mainstream art to all Khmer who want to help Japanese people,” said Poy Chhunly.

All proceeds from the night would be handed straight to the Japanese Embassy, he pledged.

“No matter how much has been sold, 100 percent of the funds collected from the exhibition will be sent to the Embassy of Japan, and I believe that there will be a lot of Khmer people wanting to help Japan,” he said.

“We can help via paintings, and we also want to invite other like-minded artists to participate by contributing and putting their works up for auction on Monday night.”

Tor Vutha, a painting professor and an independent artist with Phare Ponleu Selpak association, who will put two of his paintings up for auction, said that he took part in this event because he believed that art was about helping each other, showing culture and virtues.

“Japan is in the same part of the world as us, and Japan has been helping Cambodia enormously, including providing grants. As an artist, I can find a way to raise funds for them in return,” he said.

His painting for the auction expressed a divided view of the tsunami, he explained, on two canvases with Japanese characters and English letters seeking news of relatives lost in the tragedy.

This exciting exhibition and auction by Cambodian artists from Battambang, Siem Reap, and Phnom Penh will be held on Monday, April 4, from 7pm at the Foreign Correspondents Club, Sisowath Quay, corner of Street 178, Phnom Penh.

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