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Exploring the value of women

Keo Khun Phalla, one of the artists featured in a show at Battambang University as part of the Good Men Give Value to Women campaign.

After a successful  launch in Takmao district near Phnom Penh, the Good Men Give Value to Women campaign to promote positive gender roles amongst university students through artist-based performances has been held at Battambang.

Last week, about 500 students attended an exhibition of 34 paintings from 18 young artists from Phare Ponleu Salapak art school in Battambang city organised by the Paz y Desarollo (PYD), supported by The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GTZ), the United Nations Population fund (UNFPA) and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Marta Gutierrez Pedrosa, the Country Director of PYD who oversees the four-year Programme on Gender, said that the young people play very important role in gender equality and in combatting domestic violence against women.

“I believe the paintings are not only to impress but also to inform and educate people about gender equality,” she said.

Keo Phun Phalla, 22, is one of 18 young artists who have joint PYD’s workshop to brainstorm topics for paintings. Phalla spent about two weeks painting his two works. The first focuses on men taking care of their families, the other is man as a mirror of a woman.

“The topics are coming from my own feelings. I’ve imagined about how I will be taking care of my family after I marry and how to see and value women,” Keo Phun Phalla said.

“As an artist, I would like to show the message to young people that abstract artwork can provide crucial meaning to the public as I see not many young Cambodians are interested in the artwork nor value women as much as in other countries,” Keo Phun Phalla said, with one side of his made up and with a curly wig.

Ny Raksmey, a 20-year-old student of Tourism, told The Post that he was much impressed by the exhibition. “They’ve made me so happy to see the creative, colourful and meaningful paintings,” he said.

“Before I just treated women normally but after seeing the paintings and slogans, I’ve seen so much in depth how women are facing life as victims of violence and there is much more work and obligations for women,” Ny Raksmey said.  

It wasn’t just the young men who were impressed, but also many young women who study at Battambang University. Kenh Huoy, a third-year student of Accounting and Finance seems enjoyed asking questions to the artists and taking photographs of the paintings.

“This painting is so wonderful. The father is careless about being a stereotype and discriminating by not helping with housework and teach his kids,” she said.

“For my own idea, because there is more awareness raising about gender equality, women should try to more so that women can work like men, "Kenh Huoy said.

The free exhibition runs until the 20th of December at Battambang University.



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