Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Artist offers ‘therapy’ with portraits painted in coffee

Artist offers ‘therapy’ with portraits painted in coffee

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Painter David Kryemadhi hands over a portrait painted with coffee in a coffee bar in Durres, western Albania, on October 15. AFP

Artist offers ‘therapy’ with portraits painted in coffee

Albanian artist David Kryemadhi douses his brush with coffee and carefully sketches the face of a cafe customer, hoping the offer of a free portrait will bring cheer amid the anxiety of the pandemic.

Many Albanians regard cafes as a vital institution and punctuate most days with caffeinated outings – the country of 2.8 million reputedly has one of the highest numbers of cafes in the world per head of population.

“Art and coffee help a lot of people,” Kryemadhi said in the seaside city of Durres.

“The moment of calm and reflection while painting a portrait helps the other person gain self-confidence and see the world with a positive synergy, a more open eye.”

Kryemadhi uses coffee like watercolour paints, composing portraits with a rich, brown patina – adding water to create different shades.

In the cafes of Albania, he has found a natural setting for his brand of art therapy.

To find subjects to paint, he strikes up conversations with customers before offering a free portrait.

“It did me so much good,” said student Alexsandra while waiting for her portrait to dry.

“I find in this painting all my emotions, my torments, my thoughts.”

‘Successful therapy’

Eva Allushi from the University of Durres explains that cafes in Albania are “an essential form of social life” where people feel free to express themselves.

“The novelty in David’s art is the fact that he builds bridges with his fellow travellers in this Albanian institution,” she said.

According to Albania’s Institute of Statistics, the country has roughly 600 cafes per 100,000 people – one of the highest in the world.

Kryemadhi said he hoped his portraits would help alleviate some of the stress caused by coronavirus in Durres, an area still recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2019 that killed dozens and left thousands more homeless.

“Coffee art is one of the most successful therapies,” said Kryemadhi.

“It helps to overcome difficult situations such as those experienced with this pandemic or with the earthquake.”


  • Cambodia to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration