Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - What's new




What's new

What's new


One of the installation pieces featured in “Hawker’s song part 1.” PHOTO BY Uy Neiseremony

Like the city they aim to portray, the "Our City" exhibits have their good and bad

Are you bored with just walking around the city and seeing it through your own eyes? You’re in luck my friend, because for the next month you can check out a variety of art exhibits that allow you to see Phnom Penh through the eyes of many of its finest artists.

“Our City”, which runs for the entire month of September, features photography, painting, architecture, sculpture, film screenings, talks and discussions focused on defining Cambodia’s capital city and its transformation as it becomes part of a global civilisation (see the full calendar of events at javaarts.org/ourcity).

Last Thursday I got a call from a friend who wanted to check out some of the exhibits, and, since the whole idea of depicting my home city sounded like quite an artistic undertaking, I was happy to join.

Our first stop was J Gallery, located behind Java Café at #56 Sihanouk Blvd, to see Hawker’s song part 1, an installation piece combining video, audio and sculpture. Upon stepping into the small gallery my friend immediately began to complain about the repeating sound track of people selling roasted eggs that played over the whole room. After a few minutes – thank the lord – a woman came in and turned off the irritating audio-loop, allowing us to focus on the art work surrounding us.

“What the hell is that?” asked my companion as we turned our attention to a sculpture consisting of a bicycle, basket, radio and assorted objects set in concrete. I also found the piece too abstract to make ant sense of. The other work, utilising flattened soda cans, Khmer and foreign currency and other found objects, left us somewhat speechless, and with no curator to help us we lasted about 15 minutes before heading to our next destination on the Our City tour.

We made the 20-metre walk to Java Café & Gallery to check out “Walking Markets”. The cool decorations instantaneously put me in the mood to look at art. It just happened to be the opening of the exhibition, which featured 11 paintings in various shades of red, yellow and orange by Suos Sodevy. Along with a crowd of seemingly sophisticated Khmer and foreign art enthusiasts, I thoroughly enjoyed the series of thought-provoking impressionist works (we found out they cost more than $1,000 each!).
Our time at the cozy gallery with lovely music playing over the speakers was thoroughly enjoyable. But all art exhibits get boring after a while, and we decided to meet up the next day to check out some more art dedicated to our city.

We were instantly blown away by the pieces being shown at Bophana Audiovisual Centre. An expansive photo by Lim Sokchanlina of Phnom Penh’s streets was hanging adjacent to another wall-to-wall photo of a flooded street. They were like no photos I have ever seen. What a cool photographer!

Two more series, “Walking on Golden Land” and “Double City”, were also worth seeing although explanation from the artists, as always, would make them even better.

Our two days taking in the work of “Our City” artists was at times disappointing and breath-taking, and it left us excited to see more. If you are interested in the development of architecture and urban design in Cambodia’s quickly modernizing capital, you need to see it for yourself.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's GDP growth to narrow -1% to -2.9%, World Bank says

    The World Bank expects further recoil on Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to between minus one per cent and minus 2.9 per cent for 2020 as its main growth drivers – tourism, manufacturing exports and construction – take a beating due to Covid-19, its latest economic update

  • Vietnam: Tougher sentences for child abusers

    Several National Assembly (NA) deputies in Vietnam are calling for tougher penalties to be handed down to child abusers. They hope stricter punishments will act as a strong deterrent to prevent offenders committing further offences in the future. Extreme measures such as chemical castration were

  • Central bank to shun small US banknotes

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is considering not accepting smaller denominated US dollar banknotes – $1, $2 and $5 – from banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) which it said are flooding its stockpile as the demand for those notes is low. While some banking insiders welcomed the move as

  • PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

    World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Workers return, hope for salaries

    More than 600 factory workers in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district returned to work after the factory’s owner promised to pay their salaries in instalments until the middle of next month. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 600 workers gathered

  • Women detained for forcing kids to beg

    Two women were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday for forcing six children to beg for money for several months at the Chhouk Meas market in Krang Thnong commune in the capital’s Sen Sok district. Phnom Penh Department of Anti-human Trafficking and