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Young friends open joint art exhibition


Chonn Ravy, above, poses with his paintings of old wooden homes in Battambang. Right, graphic artist Prak Ke focuses on pencil portraits of everyday workers in his display at Equinox bar and restaurant.

Scenes from daily life and old wooden houses in Battambang are the featured subjects of two young artists who are exhibiting their work at Equinox bar and restaurant in Phnom Penh.

Both studied art at non-profit organisation Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS), and now the young friends share a house together.

Prak Ke, 22, is a graphic designer for PPS who draws lively pencil portraits of workers around Battambang, such as street vendors, scavengers pulling carts and children.

He colours his drawings using powder and pens, bringing his subjects to life as they struggle to earn a living and raise their children.

Originally from Banteay Meanchey Province, Prak Ke is showing just eight works in the current exhibition, which runs until April 1.

“I want to show how people are working hard, and doing their job legally, without any accusations from other people. I think these paintings don’t just show the reality of our people working in Battambang but also all through Cambodia,” said Prak Ke.    

The young artist has had just two exhibitions of his work, but has sold many drawings to tourists who visited the circus performances run by PPS in Battambang.

His fellow artist for the exhibition at Equinox is Chonn Ravy, 22, who lives in Rattanak Mondul district, Battambang. He began art studies at PPS in 2007 and is due to graduate after four years this year.

Old wooden houses in Battambang were the inspiration for his paintings on paper. He noticed that in the town’s Wat Ko and Kdol Doun Teav communes, many wooden houses were still standing from 100 years ago, some featuring decorative tiled roofs and eaves.

“I wanted to paint these houses because they reflect our own Cambodian style. These houses are old now, and people who have money will never build new houses in these old patterns, so I wanted to preserve their styles in my paintings,” said Chonn Ravy.

Their joint exhibition runs until April 1 at Equinox bar and restaurant, 3A Street 278, Phnom Penh.

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