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Exhibition showcases changing urban landscape

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090505_17.jpg

Kong Vollak's exhibition "Buildings" addresses how recent developments

will affect Phnom Penh's landscape, environment and culture

PHOTO SUPPLIED

One of Kong Vollak’s drawings.

HOW will the continual development and construction of immense, modern buildings in Phnom Penh affect the landscape, environment and culture of the people living in this country?

This is the question artist Kong Vollak poses to the viewers of his most recent exhibition "Buildings", which will showcase 20 pencil and charcoal drawings as well as four wire installation pieces depicting the urban jungle.

Kong Vollak has been concentrating on the urban architecture of his birthplace, Phnom Penh, ever since he graduated from the Royal University of Fine Arts, and he began exhibiting his work in 2005.

Furthermore, over the last few years, Kong Vollak has taken part in several workshops with foreign artists. He has also studied photography at Popil Gallery and dreams of becoming an art teacher.

"I want to show the changes that are happening in the architecture of Phnom Penh," he said. "Nowadays, there are so many huge, tall, modern buildings being erected, and the old traditional-style buildings are being overtaken."

Mega-structures

Each of Kong Vollak's pieces portrays contemporary urban architecture in Cambodia's capital, and in particular the onslaught of the new mega-structures and the connections that these buildings have to the surrounding environment.

"I'm not so sure all of these new buildings are good for this city," he said. "Too many tall, modern buildings can negatively affect the landscape in terms of traffic jams, pollution and a loss of the old, traditional style of architecture that is part of our culture," he said.

Kong Vollak describes the Phnom Penh of his dreams - a subtle mix of ancient and contemporary architecture.

Although Kong Vollak may be sceptical about the changing urban landscape of Phnom Penh, he leaves the question of whether these changes are a positive for Cambodia up to those who view his work.

"Buildings" will open at the French Cultural Centre at 7pm Wednesday and will run through  June 6. 

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