Between 7 September and 16 October, residents of Phnom Penh were treated to a taste of Australian contemporary art with the Australian Embassy presenting an exhibition of work by young indigenous artist Christian Thompson as part of the Our City Festival.
Held at Java Arts Café, the exhibition included works from Thompson’s Australian Graffiti series of photographs and a video installation of his work Heat.
The exhibition was launched on 7 September by the Australian Ambassador, Her Excellency Penny Richards, the Deputy Governor of Phnom Penh, His Excellency Nuon Someth, and the Founder and Coordinator of the Our City Festival, Ms Dana Langlois.
In her speech Ambassador Richards said that after exhibitions in galleries in Australia, Europe and the USA, she was pleased that Cambodians too, would have the chance to experience Thompson’s art for themselves.
Thompson is one of a long line of Indigenous artists who have made a contribution to Australia’s cultural life. Australian Indigenous art is one of the oldest continuous art traditions in the world.
Christian Thompson is a Bidjara man of the Kunja Nation from southwest Queensland, his father is of Indigenous ancestry and his mother is the descendant of European immigrants.
In her speech Ambassador Richards said that Thompson’s art was “informed by his cultural heritage, world view and personal experiences as a man of Aboriginal and European descent. By the exhibition’s close, organisers estimated that the exhibition had been seen by over 2,000 people in Phnom Penh.