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Kingdom set for Asia-Europe art show

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Culture minister Phoeurng Sackona addresses the Asia-Europe conference on Friday. CULTURE MINISTRY

Kingdom set for Asia-Europe art show

World-renowned 300-year-old paintings and contemporary paintings worth $100,000 – along with many other works of art – will be on display at the National Museum from November 22 onwards while Cambodia is hosting the Asia-Europe Culture Festival.

Cambodia is set to host the Asia-Europe Culture Festival from November 22-26 as an online event that will also feature live cultural exhibitions and films at the museum.

At a press conference for the festival on November 15 – which is organised this year under the theme of “Asia and Europe: Cultures Connect” – Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts undersecretary of state Kim Pinun said the Asia-Europe Cultural Festival is an accompanying event organised to celebrate the 13th Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM13).

“The show encourages connections and relations between the peoples of Asia and the peoples of Europe to relate to each other through the artistic and cultural sectors,” he said.

The festival will feature a mixture of art from both continents across three main activity areas. The first area will feature performing arts – including traditional and classical dances, contemporary music and theatre. The second area is the exhibition, which will feature paintings, sculptures and other works of art. The third area of activity is the screening of feature-length and short films including documentaries.

The exhibition project includes 30 paintings and other works of art which are all highly-valued and rarely seen on display.

Ek Buntha, deputy director-general in charge of Intangible Cultural Heritage at the culture ministry, said the artworks to be exhibited at the museum have been selected by experts according to reputation.

“This is a collaborative effort between Europe and Asia that brings together artists both as individuals and in groups and some foreign artists in Cambodia selected their works for exhibition along with items of historical interest like posters from 200 to 300 years ago that will also be on display.

“All of this art is new to Cambodia we have never seen it displayed here before so it is an honour for the National Museum to be organising a show like this and we hope to set a good example so in the future we can continue doing these events,” he said.

Buntha added that Cambodia selected four films to be shown at the festival that were shot in the Kingdom and had some meaningful connection between Asia and Europe in them.

Tihamer Czika, deputy head of the EU Delegation to Cambodia, said the event was an important means for highlighting the rich cultures of both the European and Asian continents.

He added that despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will continue and will allow audiences to watch either online or in person according to their preference.

“We will see the richness and diversity of the cultures of the two continents and this is the sign of more close collaborative ties between the countries of Europe and Asia,” he said.

National Museum director Chhay Visoth said this event was special because it is a large-scale contemporary exhibition and Cambodia has never organised an event of this nature at the museum.

He said previous contemporary arts exhibitions have been held, but they were smaller programmes and most of the artists were Cambodians.

“This exhibition is different from the opening of the National Museum 100 years ago when it opened with only traditional displays and especially just pure Khmer artwork. This will be a big contemporary art show which is new for the National Museum and it’s a great opportunity for the public,” he said.

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