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Cambodia’s wildlife wins artistic support

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Visitors mingle at the opening of Endangered, a collaborative exhibition that aims to raise awareness of threats to Cambodia’s wildlife.

A wonderfully wild array of artists and special contributors took part in the year’s last exhibition opening, in the salubrious surrounduings of Siem Reap’s  Hotel de la Paix last Friday.

In a collaboration bringing together 90 children, five NGOs and Siem Reap-based artist Lim Theam, the exhibition,  Endangered, aims to raise awareness of the continuing threats faced by some animal populations in Cambodia,  largely as a result of human development and hunting.

Animals such as the Indochinese tiger and Asian elephant, and vulnerable species such as the Asiatic black bear, the clouded leopard, the pangolin and sarus cranes, among many others, are critically endangered.

The startling centrepiece of the exhibition, apart from Christian de Boer’s exquisite feather Christmas tree, is Lim Theam’s collection of vibrantly lacquered elephants. At the other end of the open floor area is an impressive advancing bull, made of tin cans, which was loaned to the hotel by the Sam Veasna Centre, one of the exhibition partners and a well established eco-tours operator.  

Gracing the walls around the main Arts Lounge are Lim’s lacquered tableaux, detailing natural scenes in rich, contrasting colours. Several of them sold almost immediately, and many more have acquired red stickers over the course of this week.

Lim’s works are complemented by the paintings of almost 90 students from the Green Gecko Project and the Landmine Museum, which are the result of a three-month collaboration by the two projects, Hotel de la Paix assistant curator Oun Savann and The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity.

Each one sells for $200, and the funds raised will go back towards the group’s projects.

In the Thev Gallery, nature buffs will get a real kick out of the images from camera traps placed by the Wildlife Conservation Society all over Cambodia, giving an insight into the lives of animals most of us will never have the privilege of seeing in real life.

Alongside them are the Sam Veasna Centre’s stunning photographs of Cambodia’s birds such as the greater adjutant and the elusive masked finfoot.

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