WITH an eye to drawing international attention to Khmer culture, the government is urging local artists to focus their work around traditional Cambodian subject matter to help preserve and promote the Kingdom's heritage.
At the 2009 National Culture Meeting, officials gathered to discuss the need to create what they called "cultural industries" to strengthen Cambodian culture and export it globally.
"Developing and protecting the cultural inheritance of Khmer culture through enforcing copyright laws and increasing human resources will improve Cambodia as a centre for spreading Khmer culture to the world," Him Chhem, minister of culture and fine arts, said during the meeting at the Chaktomuk Conference Hall on Tuesday.
The meeting, which included representatives from Unesco, also focused on the need for artists and craftsmen to increase the quality and quantity of their cultural products in order to support the national economy.
Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An called for greater conservation of temples and heritage buildings in order to keep tourist levels up.
"We need to rebuild ancient temples and improve ancient high grounds to attract local and international tourists," said Men Sam An.
She added that reinforcing traditional values in art would protect against what she saw as the "current of cultural globalisation" filtering into Cambodia through foreign TV shows and other imported cultural products.
"We are not only wanting to develop human resources in this sector, but also create a strong industry of Cambodian culture for the market to protect against the flood of vagabond culture from foreign countries," she said.
Artists need real benefits
Teruo Jinnai, Unesco representative to Cambodia, said that conservation and cultural policy development would be effective so long as the artisans and artists can get real benefits through the sustainability of the cultural sector.
"We need to work ... to create projects that support the artists in order to develop the cultural products and cultural industries," he said.