Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Book celebrates 100-year milestone of the Royal University of Fine Arts



Book celebrates 100-year milestone of the Royal University of Fine Arts

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An image taken in 2009 shows one of the main buildings at the Royal University of Fine Arts . Moeun Nhean

Book celebrates 100-year milestone of the Royal University of Fine Arts

2017 will mark the Royal University of Fine Arts’ (RUFA) 100-year journey since its inauguration in 1917. As a tribute to the history and development of the institution that has long been cultivating various types of arts and Cambodian culture, an alumnus of the university has recently finished a book entitled “The History of The School of Fine Arts”.

The author is Preap Chanmara, born in 1975 in the Tboung Khmum district of Kampong Cham province, and attended the college of archaeology at RUFA from 1995 to 2000. He currently works as a professor and officer in the university.

In an interview with Post Property, Chanmara said that he had always felt an affinity with the artistic design of lotus petals of the school’s antique architecture.

“I was struck by the ancient-looking architectural structure in the school’s campus. And I had always thought to myself that someday, inevitably, the university will undergo a renovation. So, I started taking pictures of the buildings in the campus ever since.”

Years later, he found that he had accumulated a vast number of photographs and documents related to the school, and now, the product of Chanmara’s documentation comes in the form of his 88-page book containing 146 pictures.

In the book, it is explained that the inauguration of the school had officially come about through the royal decree of then His Royal Highness Preah Sisowath issued on December 14, 1917. During the French colonial period, the school was called Ecole des Arts Cambodgiens.

A following royal decree by His Royal Highness Norodom Sihanouk in 1965 saw the appointment of acclaimed Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann to organise the school – then still named simply The School of Fine Arts – into a more formal institution. From there, the school was renamed to what it now is.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Oum Bunthoeun, a student of the fine arts school in 1973, said that until now, most of the university’s buildings are from the original construction. “Like many others, I feel that the most iconic building is the U-shaped one in the middle of the school’s campus. The building faces east, looming behind the National Museum, which was also intended to be part of the University since the beginning.”

This U-shaped building – now holding the department of history – was, according to Bunthoeun, constructed as a huge workshop by using main rafters on the roof, with its doors and windows featuring incredibly detailed sculptures by well-known sculptors.

Kau, 70, a former student of the school, echoed what is mentioned in Chanmara’s book. Just like the National Museum, which acts as a warehouse for the royal family to store their valuable treasures and heirlooms, the school had been a part of the Royal Palace structure, acting as a workhouse that supplied the palace with household items and utensils.

Over the last few years, there have been rumours that caught the public’s attention surrounding the relocation of the Royal University of Fine Arts, including speculation the university would be relocated from its historic grounds to the opposite shore across the Chroy Changvar bridge.

However, none of the authorities have confirmed whether or not these rumours are true.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a