Christie's fine art auction house is making its first excursion into Cambodia to assist in the sale of artworks at the annual Salon des Createurs exhibition.
Forty works now on display at No Problem, most created by local artists, have been chosen for auction on the March 11, with proceeds to benefit the local non-profit organisation Cambodian Living Arts.
Now in its third year, Salon des Createurs is showcasing crafts, silks, jewellery, pottery, porcelain, masks, swords and paintings.
Cambodian Living Arts has worked to promote awareness of the arts in Phnom Penh and the provinces since 1998, and the finances raised from the auction will be used by CLA for further arts activities.
Phe Sophon, a 29 year-old artist who graduated from Reyum Arts School in 2005, designed a bed which will be featured in the auction.
The piece, entitled “When we are sleeping, we don’t feel scared.
When we are full, we are not hungry”, is the artist’s first piece to be chosen for bidding.
“While I was eating, the spoon that I had in my hand gave me the idea for an art piece. Then I used spoons to create my first artwork. But for this bed, I used dresses, iron and wood to create a bed in the shape of spoon,” Phe Sophon said of the piece which will be up for bidding.
Em Riem, the artist who owns the gallery X Em Design, has had four of his pieces selected for the auction, including a painting of a nun, an abstract painting relating to the Khmer Rouge, a bronze sculpture and a wooden sculpture.
The reserve prices of both of his paintings are set at $2000 while the sculptures are at $1000.
“I’m proud that Christie’s has come here. I’m sure this first time auction sale will encourage local artists to keep working harder because they know that their pieces can be sold,” he said.
Madeleine De Langalerie, the organiser of Salon des Createurs, has worked hard to bring the famed international auction house to Phnom Penh in order to not only introduce international collectors to Cambodian artists, but also to give local artists a chance to earn a livelihood.
“If Cambodian culture is in a difficult situation, it is not because Cambodians are not creative,” said De Langalerie.
“It is sadly because Cambodian creators cannot live from their artistic production.”
All the art work up for auction is being displayed from March 3-10 between 11am and 8pm at No Problem, #55 Street 178. Entrance is free. Items will be brought to the Sofitel Hotel on March 11 for the auction, which begins at 3pm. Bidders must be present.