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Young artist inspired by traditional beliefs

YOUNG Cambodian artist Sin Rithy, 21, has already sold eight paintings from his first solo exhibition at Villa Langka on Street 282.

The former arts student at  NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang drew his inspiration from both positive and negative Cambodian beliefs, he explained.

“If somebody believes in something too strongly, it may end dramatically. I want people to think before believing in something,” he said.

His acrylic paintings on canvas explore people’s beliefs about their ancestors as well as animals and the sun. Nineteen of them are on show at Villa Langka until November 19, with prices between $350 and $600.

“Sin Rithy is sometimes shocked that Cambodian people are bogged down in beliefs which sometimes are harmful to them,” added Isabelle Drouillard, responsible for visual arts at Phare Ponleu Selpak.

Sin Rithy entered the NGO’s art school, dedicated to children that face deep social issues, when he was eight and left a year ago. For nine months, he then worked on paintings for his exhibition, but let the NGO deal with the whole organisation.

“He is now independent, but he still needs some help,” Drouillard said. Exhibitions were a good way to show the artist’s work and to sell a few paintings. “With the money they earn, they can buy canvas and brushes of better quality. This enables them to leave the nest and to become more confident.”

The NGO’s school in Battambang educates 1,200 children and 450 extra students also attend specialised art classes there.

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