Twenty young Cambodian artists have had their work selected by the Phnom Penh-based
Asean Cultural Committee for an art exposition that will see their work exhibited
in the Asean member countries over the next few months. The artists - children aged
between 8 and 13 - each received $200 prize money.
Eleven-year-old Hen Lady came third in the contest. One of her four entries was chosen.
Her winning work stemmed from her experience helping an old, blind beggar accompanied
by his dog cross the bridge in her hometown in Kandal province.
"I really enjoy painting," she said, "and am very pleased to have
won in this contest."
Hong Soth, chairman of the Asean Cultural Committee in Phnom Penh said this was the
first time that Cambodian children had been given the opportunity to attend the regional
painting exhibition. He said Asean wanted to study the development of the artistic
ideas of the children of member nations.
"I did not expect their paintings would do well," he said, "but their
ideas about humanity were similar in standard to other children in Asean-member countries."
The Asean exhibition opened in November at the Asean meeting in Brunei. It will now
travel to Cambodia and the other member nations.
Most Cambodian children have no chance to excel at art. One place that does encourage
children is Mith Samlanh/Friends, an NGO that takes children off the streets and
helps them develop skills.
On October 22 Kathy Manthei, a professional artist, started a week-long tuition course
encouraging the children to experiment with art.
Manthei has taught similar courses to children in Thailand. Her focus this time was
to encourage them to draw their own images. Learning how to paint was only part of
the process, she said. The other involved them exploring their thoughts.
One important therapeutic benefit of art is that the children can express their feelings.
The children's paintings will be on display at Friends restaurant starting November
An exhibition of Kathy Manthei's work can be seen at the Java Cafe until December