Phnom Penh picks: art for the home

Vintage photographs of Cambodia can be found at The Plantation.
Vintage photographs of Cambodia can be found at The Plantation. Charlotte Pert

Phnom Penh picks: art for the home

Are the walls of your apartment looking a little sparse? Do you need a talking point when guests come over? The city has a lot to offer in terms of paintings, photographs and prints.

Drawings by Auguste Rodin.
Drawings by Auguste Rodin. Charlotte Pert

Vintage Photos ($30)
For a throwback to the days of French colonialism, The Plantation’s gift shop offers a series of framed reproduced photographs of the old Cambodia. Options include pictures of the Central Market when it was first built, Angkor Wat, the Royal Palace and a procession of elephants marching down the riverside.
The Plantation Urban Resort, #28 Street 184.

Rodin drawings ($10)
Although the famed French fin de siècle artist Auguste Rodin was best known for his sculptures, he also sketched colourful drawings of Cambodian dancers inspired by the ballet that accompanied King Sisowath on his 1906 visit to France. Rodin never travelled to Cambodia himself, but the royal ballet’s concert in Marseille served as his muse for about 150 drawings. The reproductions are available in Phnom Penh.
Le Zard, #61 Street 240.

Painting by Nyan Lin Maung at the Irawaddi Restaurant.
Painting by Nyan Lin Maung at the Irawaddi Restaurant. Charlotte Pert

Nyan Lin Maung painting ($55)
As well as excellent curries and salads, Irrawaddi restaurant on Street 344 offers more than a dozen paintings for sale by Myanmar artists. Among the selections is a cityscape by Yangon native artist Nyan Lin Maung. With exhibitions in Thailand and Hong Kong under his belt, the 39-year-old painter is a regular exhibitor at the Strand Hotel’s River Gallery in Yangon.
Irrawaddi Myanmar Gallery Restaurant, #24 Street 344.

Colourful Cambodian scenes at Ben Ben Sarn Gallery.
Colourful Cambodian scenes at Ben Ben Sarn Gallery. Charlotte Pert

Cambodian landscapes (from $4)
If the dust of Phnom Penh is getting you down, Street 178 offers an array of colourful scenes from all over Cambodia. The Ben Ben Sarn Gallery, for example, sells paintings in a range of sizes, the biggest at 70 x 140cm. The most impressive of these depicts Angkor Wat at sunset ($35), but there are also scenes of rural life on the Mekong ($45). The gallery also sells a smaller version of Angkor Wat at sunset, for $12, a 40 x 80cm portrait of an Apsara statue ($20) and wooden frames to fit all sizes, with the biggest frame at just $4.
Ben Ben Sarn Gallery, #67 Street 178.

Ben Thynal’s artwork.
Ben Thynal’s artwork. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Ben Thynal artwork ($650)
With acrylic paint, artist Ben Thynal shows female participants in the annual Kakthen Sammaki alms-giving ceremony in this 100 x 100cm piece.
It is part of a wider body of work called Core which explores different agendas and interests within Cambodian society.
A graduate of Battambang-based non-profit Phare Ponleu Selpak’s visual arts program, Thynal recently participated in the Singapore Spot Art Festival, which features a juried selection of emerging artists, who are all under the age of 30 and from around Southeast Asia.
Romeet Gallery, #34E Street 178. .

French Protectorate postcards.
French Protectorate postcards. Charlotte Pert

Postcards from Indochina ($1)
Take your wall back in time with vintage postcards from the French Protectorate. At just $1 a pop, these are for art lovers on a budget. Images include a coloured map of Cambodia with small illustrations at each place, including the Royal Palace, Angkor Wat at Siem Reap and palm trees on the coast; there is also a painting of people worshipping at a traditional Khmer temple; and a landscape scene of Angkor Wat dating from 1935.
Reyum, #47 Street 178

‘Happy paintings’ depict bright scenes.
‘Happy paintings’ depict bright scenes. Charlotte Pert

Happy Paintings (from $5)
“Happy Painter” Stephane Delapree is well-known for his bright, cartoonish styles that depict everyday life in Cambodia. The Happy Paintings shop by the FCC on Riverside offers a variety of products, ranging from small pictures ($5 to $7) to colourful serigraphs ($48 to $55) to, at the far end of the scale, large wall paintings priced between $2,000 and $4,500.
Paintings depict scenes of Cambodia such as families going about their day, elephants by temples, and monks collecting alms. Delapree’s work has one recurring theme throughout: all his figures are smiling.
Happy Painting FCC, #363 Sisowath Quay.


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