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Portraits of Cambodia


Japanese painter Nobuaki Hirose was so moved by the faces of Cambodians that he painted an entire series capturing the many expressions and emotions of everyday Khmers. Photograph: supplied

After setting foot on Cambodian soil, Japanese artist Nobuaki Hirose was so moved by the faces of the Kingdom’s people that he felt inspired to create artworks from them, transferring their many facial expressions to a series of paintings.

Hirose’s Displaying Khmer series, which consists of 18 paintings and six sketches, will open to the public this evening at 6pm, and will be on display until July 29 at the Insider Gallery of the InterContinental Hotel.

Jenny Tchen, the InterContinental’s marketing communications manager, says she chose to display Hirose’s works in the hotel because she felt the artist had a special technique that revealed not only the beauty and diversity of humanity, but also its dignity.

“Each of the portraits that comprise his show at the Insider Gallery is unbelievably expressive and has an independent identity and existence, revealing the mind and soul of the subject,” Tchen said yesterday.

Hirose graduated from Waseda University in Japan with a major in architecture.

He began painting as a student, producing a significant number of oil paintings and exhibiting in Japan, Kenya and Tanzania.

He also taught mathematics for many years before moving to Cambodia two years ago.

He works as a co-ordinator for the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) in the Kingdom.

For his latest series, Hirose chose to immortalise the everyday people of Cambodia as a tribute to the country that has welcomed him.

To see the many faces of Cambodia, as well as the artist’s masterful use of layers of colour, everybody is welcome to tonight’s 6pm opening.
The exhibit may be viewed until July 29 at the Insider Gallery of the InterContinental Hotel, #296 Mao Tse Toung Blvd, Phnom Penh.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roth Meas at



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