Moeng Meta, 31, is a freelance art manager and assistant to the internationally acclaimed Cambodian visual artist Sopheap Pich, while also working as community projects manager at SA SA BASSAC. Despite her academic background in business management, the field in which she works requires her to see everything with the eyes of an artist. This week, she sat down with Rinith Taing and Anna Koo to discuss the places most connected to her artistic sensibilities.
Phat Paris Hair Salon near Olympic stadium
This small hair salon near Olympic Market [on Street 199, between Street 318 and 328] is the only place I go to when I need to get a haircut. The owner is a Vietnamese man but he is a very good hairstylist, and he always cuts my hair himself. In fact, I would rather call him a “hair artist” due to his complicated way of cutting hair. My hair is short, but he usually spends about an hour on it. He does his work carefully, examining every little detail and making sure his customers will return to his salon. Besides the elegant hairstyles, the salon provides comfortable seats and free water, allowing me to wait patiently even when it is crowded.
Metro Hassakan (formerly Metro Café)
This is the place where I can end my day in peace and quiet after long hours of dealing with exhibitions and other art-related events. The gourmet Asian fusion restaurant is decorated with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a wraparound patio that allows me to have an unobstructed view of the river and the daily life of the people, relaxing my eyes and mind while eating oysters and drinking the espresso martini, which is the best in town. Metro Hassakan is also my meeting place to connect with many new people from other fields besides art. I feel like I still have problems communicating with people apart from those I know, and talking with those people will help me enhance [these skills] as well as to give me the chance to learn new things.
Java Café & Gallery
I often go to Java Café & Gallery with my friends, most of whom are artists. I really enjoy iced coffee with milk and the hamburger at this two-story café on Street 274, but the food and drinks are not the only reason why I find it so satisfactory. The beautiful and unique artwork by a variety of artists displayed in the café, combined with the western-style tables and chairs, make it one of the most attractive destinations for art lovers. I am also delighted to know that 10 percent of the revenues will be used to fund Java Arts, a project aimed to promote Cambodian art. Working in this field for quite a long time, I understand that Cambodian artists experience financial hardships, and Java Arts could be an effective way to support their passions.
My Place (Konleng Knhom)
I realise that one of the problems faced by artists is the lack of working spaces, and that is why I always wanted to create a place that allows them to work in peace and quiet and meet other artists. Just this month, I finally fulfilled my dream with the creation of My Place or Konleng Knhom. It is just a small, two-story rented house near Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, but I hope it will be a significant contribution to art. As the name implies, I want everyone to treat My Place as his or her own. There is enough space for them to work or hold artists’ talks. I have put my collection of artworks in My Place, which could inspire their work. They will also have the opportunity to taste my collection of imported teas and coffees.
Sky Bar of Aquarius Hotel & Urban Resort
For me, there is no better place to get the full view of the city’s life at night, which has inspired many artists, than the rooftop bar of Aquarius Hotel & Urban Resort. As someone who adores peace and quiet, I sometimes go there alone. However, what I really love about this place is that I can sit and talk with a few friends while eating salad and getting a glimpse of the development of the city. The buildings and landscapes, for me, are also a form of art, representing what happened in the past, what we have now, and what is to be expected for the future. Getting to know what my friends think about it will test my perceptions of what I am seeing. It will influence my work, especially the handling of fine arts.