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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prodigal French artist returns to open Wat Kandal gallery

Prodigal French artist returns to open Wat Kandal gallery

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Jean-Pierre Obriot says Buddhist culture drew him back from B'desh

Photo by: Peter Olszewski

Artist Jean-Pierre Obriot of the Wat Kandal Gallery.

POPULAR French artist Jean-Pierre Obriot has returned to Cambodia from a lengthy stint in Bangladesh to establish an art gallery, which he launched over the weekend.

His spacious and voguish Wat Kandal Gallery is in a picturesque but out-of-the-way riverside location near Wat Preah An Kau Saa, between the EFEO Centre and L'Oasi Italiana Garden restaurant.

The launch was packed, mostly with French admirers, illustrating once again the divide between Siem Reap's expatriate communities.

Obriot is well know in Cambodian art circles and lived in Phnom Penh from 1999 to 2004.

During his residence, Obriot exhibited in the capital and also at the FCC in Siem Reap.

Obriot's works, including paintings, collages, sculptures and mobiles, are heavily influenced by his perception of Buddhist spirituality.

Missed Buddhist culture  

"I returned to Cambodia in July to look for a place to live and work because I found living in Bangladesh difficult," Obriot said.

"I need a Buddhist culture around me, and I especially missed Cambodia."

Obriot's gallery also displays a collection of antiques, evidence of his 20 years' additional experience as an ‘antiquarie' and interior designer in Cambodia, France and the Australian capital, Canberra.

He will now also run his interior design business from his new Siem Reap gallery.

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