After a six month break, the Gallery at Park Hyatt Siem Reap hosts a new exhibition, featuring sculptures by local artist Lim Muy Theam and paintings by Swiss contemporary artist Olivier Menge, exhibiting in Cambodia for the first time.
Hyatt’s marketing communications manager Daisy Walsh said, “Theam’s art was very successful for the first exhibit so we decided to bring him back.”
She added that artist Olivier Menge had approached the Hyatt’s general manager, Sholto Smith who thought the art “was quite marketable and a bit different for this area.”
Theam’s collection includes Buddha statues, vibrant lacquered figures and a seated, purple man that has already been snapped up by a keen art buyer.
The two main walls of the Gallery entrance display striking works by Menge, who has created Kep-inspired oil on canvas paintings on 140 by 70cm panels. Four large panels on show are actually part of a bigger collection of 18 panels but there was not enough room for them all.
This set of four panels, depicting people travelling along a countryside road set against a backdrop of windswept palm trees and a stormy, sinister grey sky, is titled Kep Kampot Road.
In another work, a trio of panels titled The Sea @ Kep, shows a brighter view, highlighting the azure sea and in the foreground, gardeners working amongst watchful geckos, red ants and – the one slightly menacing element – a large green eye spying from the bushes.
This, Menge says, belongs to a giant hidden crocodile.
In fact, eyes seem to be a theme in Menge’s work – Kep Kampot Road also contains sets of eyes concealed in the murky undergrowth, in deliberate contrast to the innocent schoolchildren walking along the road.
“The atmosphere in Kep Kampot Road shows the dark skies, like a hurricane is coming,” says Menge. “It’s very quiet and then it suddenly changes. It’s all about contrasts – you have the first contrast, between the green and the grey – that green of the rice fields, and then between the innocence of the people on the road and the eyes. The eyes are like Uncle Sam, there is always someone watching you in the forest, maybe it’s the monkeys – we don’t know. In each panel there’s a little story, making up a bigger story.”
The exhibition is ongoing until the high season.