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Exhibit shows Kingdom’s changing capital

091009_05
A visitor uses his mobile phone to snap a picture of photographs charting the development of post-independence Phnom Penh at a new exhibition that opened Thursday in Wat Phnom.

A NEW photography exhibition celebrating the 575th anniversary of the capital’s founding in 1434 opened to the public in Phnom Penh on Thursday.

Showcasing arresting images of Phnom Penh throughout its tumultuous history, the exhibition includes 24 panels and 148 photos spanning several decades in the city’s recent past.

Organisers say they hope the display will help illustrate the reality of life in Phnom Penh, from its turbulent past to a more hopeful future.

The exhibition touches on the post-independence regime under Sangkum Reastr Niyum, the devastating rule of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979, the cautious post-conflict period and the rapidly developing capital as it stands today.

Mak Vann Sitha, Phnom Penh’s director of the Department of Cultures and Fine Arts, said he hopes the exhibition will capture the imagination of a national and international audience. The aim, she said, is to demonstrate how much Phnom Penh has developed.

About 162 million riels (US$38,812) has been spent on the exhibition, including costs for repairing and decorating the Wat Phnom exhibition hall.
City officials say they hope it will serve to illustrate how far the capital has progressed. “Phnom Penh is busy developing the city” to adapt to a changing, increasingly high-tech society, said Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun.

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