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Young art students showcase their work

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A girl admires the button portrait by a student of the Reyum Art School on Thursday.

Reyum Art School exhibits the best of its Cambodian students' end-of-year assessments

SELF-portraits created with buttons, rice and old pencils, as well as   traditional paintings of naval battles and Apsara dancers were among some of the pieces on show at an exhibition at Reyum Art School last week, enabling students to show their artwork to friends, family and other curious visitors.

Reyum Art School is part of the Reyum Institute, which was founded 10 years ago and provides a free four-year course in Cambodian and contemporary art for local disadvantaged children.

"We arrange an exhibition like this every year after our students finish their end-of-year examination," said Lim Vanchan, Reyum Art School manager.

"We select pictures from their examination by giving marks according to criteria  already set, and we show these selected pictures in a small exhibition," he said.

The students are aged 10 years and upwards and must pass a test before being accepted at the school. The school has about 70 students and dedicates the first two years to teaching them traditional Cambodian arts. The last two years offer a focus on more contemporary art.

Aspiring artists
Student Lun Raby, 16, has completed two years at the art school.

I am happy to have a chance to study here because I can gain an extra skill.

"I am happy to have a chance to study here because I can gain an extra skill in addition to the knowledge I receive from my studies at the state school," he said, adding that the work at the art school does not interfere at all with his other school work. "I wish to be an excellent artist."
Lim Vanchan said he was pleased with the exhibition, despite noting the market for art in Cambodia is not good.
"There is much support [for Cambodian art], but the problem is that most Cambodians are not rich enough to buy pictures and paintings which are slightly expensive," he said.

"The market must be a little narrow, but it does not mean there is no market at all," he added.
Chim Srey Rath, a 19-year-old student at Reyum, said, "I think the art of painting is a form of art that can help raise the profile of Khmer culture because when we draw pictures, we draw about things which are related to Khmer cultural and natural resources.

"Our pictures are shown through the US, so foreigners can experience Khmer culture through our pictures," she added.  "I feel very proud when I hear that the art of Cambodia is admired by other countries."

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