Oun Savann’s and Onin Lorente’s artwork will be on display all of April at ARTillery on Street “240 and a half” across from the Silver Pagoda.
In an otherwise pitch-black neighbourhood near Wat Botum Park, a procession of tealight candles shone the way to Phnom Penh’s newest arts hub, buried in one of Street 240’s winding residential alleys.
After opening for business on Friday, the ARTillery Café and Gallery launched its first exhibit on Sunday evening.
ARTillery owner Loven Ramos betrayed none of the feverish efforts to put the finishing touches on the premises over the past two weeks, gracefully flitting through the audience and brandishing glasses of cabernet sauvignon as the connected and the curious wandered through the gallery’s labyrinthine rooms.
ARTillery’s inaugural exhibition featured the works of Oun Savann, a Battambang native who has been a fixture of Siem Reap’s art scene since his graduation from the prestigious Phare Ponleu Selpak art school.
In keeping with ARTillery’s focus on sustainability and environmental themes, Oun Savann’s sculptures were composed entirely from found materials.
“Using found objects and personal items, I illustrate the events and journeys of my life as an artist and as a Cambodian,” Oun Savann said.
The artist completed his sculptures over the three previous weeks, usually late at night after long hours working at Hotel de la Paix’s Arts Lounge in Siem Reap.
With no signs of slowing down, Oun travelled back to Siem Reap yesterday to plan his next series of artworks, which he is hoping to feature in a Taiwanese exhibition focused on sustainability and the environment.
Downstairs, the walls were adorned with the photography of Onin Lorente, a Filipino fashion photographer who has been based in Singapore for the past three years. Lorente’s work has been featured in an assortment of fashion magazines in Europe.
Since his move to the Lion City, he has evolved into something of a journeyman around Asia, and this is his third time he’s travelled to the country after previous shoots at last year’s Cambodian Fashion Week.
Lorente’s work at ARTillery features a series of glamour portraits taken around the grounds of the Institute of Technology on Russian Boulevard – a marked contrast from previous Cambodian shoots in the forests of the Angkor Wat National Park.
The photographer says that he has been drawn back to Phnom Penh on account of its underappreciated natural and manmade beauty.
“I love what Phnom Penh offers,” Lorente says. “It’s a great place to shoot, given what it can offer in terms of natural resources and the facades of buildings.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Sean Gleeson at [email protected]