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Cambodian women recognised for creativity


Doung Saree (left) receives the first-prize award for the You Khin Memorial Women’s Art Prize 2010 from US Ambassador Carol Rodley. Photo by Ou Mom

Phnom Penh
JAVA Café and Gallery is hosting an exhibition, until July 18, of artwork by participants in the You Khin Memorial Women’s Art Prize 2010.

The award ceremony was held at Java Café and Gallery on June 23, with more than 300 guests in attendance, including US Ambassador to Cambodia Carol Rodley, who distributed the awards to the winners.

The 12 awards included one first-place prize, one student prize and 10 honourable mentions.

First prize went to Doung Saree, 53, a painting teacher at the Royal University of Fine Arts and an internationally recognised artist. Her winning artwork, Woman Picking Water Lilies, is a painting in the traditional style characterised by natural colours and fine detail.

“The painting was inspired by my own memories of picking water lilies when I was a young girl,” Doung Saree said at the ceremony.

The student prize was awarded to 20-year-old Siem Reap resident Try Sophal for her photograph My Life and Dreams, which shows a young Cambodian dancer preparing for a performance.

The honourable mention prizes were awarded to Tith Kanitha, Noun Borina, Buth Chan Anochea, Hiem An Kannitha, Chhan Dina, Phin Sophorn, Tes Vanna, Khchao Touch, Ouer Sokuntevy and Two Sam Oun

According to press statement from Java Café and Gallery, the You Khin Memorial Women’s Art Prize was established as a collaboration between JavaArts and the US Embassy.

“The aim of the prize is to inspire and encourage Cambodian women in self expression, to recognise the power and importance of women in the arts and to build up their social value,” the statement said.

The award was named in honour of Cambodian impressionist painter You Khin, who passed away in 2009 and who had dedicated much of his life and art to highlighting the struggles of women.

Between the announcement for the competition at the end of March and the closing date for entries on May 23, 45 artworks from women artists in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap were submitted.

Artwork was submitted in a variety of media, including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and installation.

The pieces were judged according to a scoring system based on technique, composition, content and materials.

Ms Rodley said in her speech at the award ceremony that Cambodians of all ages were becoming increasingly involved in expressing themselves through artistic activities.

“I believe it is this work that will allow the world to appreciate that Cambodia is not only about the wonder of Angkor Wat but also about a wide range of contemporary of arts,” she said.

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