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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Siem Reap Scene: 16 Oct 2009

Siem Reap Scene: 16 Oct 2009

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Smoke and haute texture feature in art show openings
Hotel de la Paix’s Arts Lounge opened its latest exhibition on Wednesday evening and, as usual, the venue turned on the special effects, this time with smoke pouring from an installation.

The smoke represented pollution and the significance of this was that the exhibition, called “Black”, is a statement about urbanisation, according to curator Don Protasio.

“It’s an observation and critique of urban landscapes of Cambodia and how urbanisation affects people,” he said.

The exhibition features the distinctive work of 26-year-old Kong Vollak, who graduated from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and now teaches at Preah Ponlea High School, Svay Rieng Province.

Protasio said Kong Vollak has been a prolific practising artist for around five years and, typical of most artists exhibited at the Arts Lounge, works in mixed media and installations.

“We’re showing an assortment of all the stuff he’s doing, including sculptures, drawings, paintings and installations. He uses a lot of minimalist black lines, that’s why the exhibition is called ‘Black’.

“I haven’t seen him work in colour; it’s always black and white.”

Meanwhile, McDermott Gallery launched its “exclusive invitation-only event” called “If Love is Silk” last night, featuring what is dubbed “haute texture” work by Siem Reap’s cutting-edge fashion designer Eric Raisina.

This short season show, which runs until October 22, is apparently a prelude to the opening of Raisina’s new store at FCC Angkor.

Kids’ photography course launched
Australian Liam MacKenzie launched his project called “UnderExposed” at the weekend, with a photography course for kids from The Global Child NGO.

MacKenzie, 24, a professional photographer, said the eight-week course aims to encourage kids to express themselves.

“The goal is not to make every student a photographer. The goal is to introduce a world of creativity and opportunity to a child to whom it would otherwise be unknown,” he said.

MacKenzie first came to Siem Reap as a tourist about two months ago. Having noticed a real lack of education about visual arts for kids, he decided to stick around and pass on his knowledge.

MacKenzie will work co-operatively with NGOs and schools that already exist, giving classes as an extra-curricular activity to interested children.
He already has several businesses interested in exhibiting the children’s work when they graduate in mid-December.

The students use an assortment of old 35mm cameras donated by individuals in Australia. All other materials are also donated.

The ultimate aim, according to Mackenzie, is to take the project to more rural parts of Cambodia; to places where “they’ve never even seen a camera before.”

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