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MY PHNOM PENH: Sao Sreymao, Graphic Artist

Sao Sreymao is a graphic artist and painter from Battambang province. In 2007, her first exhibition focused on women’s issues.
Sao Sreymao is a graphic artist and painter from Battambang province. In 2007, her first exhibition focused on women’s issues.

MY PHNOM PENH: Sao Sreymao, Graphic Artist

Sao Sreymao Graphic Artist Sao Sreymao is a graphic artist and painter from Battambang province. In 2007, her first exhibition focused on women’s issues. Since then, her art has appeared in a range of books, graphic novels and other publications most recently, in a graphic novel called Your Story, My Story about the suffering of Cham and Vietnamese ethnic minorities under the Khmer Rouge. This week, she spoke with Vandy Muong about the places around Phnom Penh that are central to her creativity.

Romeet Contemporary Art Space

romeet Contemporary Art Space

Romeet was opened in association with Phare Ponleu Selpak to promote artists’ talent and at the same time to support Phare. After publishing my own graphics as a freelancer, I came to work at Romeet gallery as an assistant curator. I didn’t know anyone in Phnom Penh and I decided to work at Romeet in 2011 in order to meet more people. Although I am an artist, I didn’t know how to take care of art work before working there. For example, I didn’t know how to fix paintings, how to meet artists and how hard it would be to deal with the artists, because they have their own opinions about how things should be. My experiences there helped me learn to listen, to be less selfish and to understand the artists’ situations. Unfortunately, Romeet gallery closed and I became a freelance painter.

Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center

Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center

Bophana Center is my favourite place for research. When I came to Phnom Penh, Bophana Center was the first place I found to learn and talk with people. It was also a new place for me to research documents related to the Khmer Rouge and other history. Moreover, I came here because there were a lot of workshops related to graphic/comic books at Bophana Center. There were not many women involved in exhibitions when I first came in 2009, but then I got a chance to show my potential. I submitted my work and was lucky to display it there.

Cyclo restaurant

Cyclo restaurant

This restaurant serves real French cuisine. I’ve been going here for the past three years because the ambience is nice and the food is good. I know the owner well by now. In general, I cook food at home, but I want to eat different tasting food when I’m not at home. When I eat French food, I can understand the taste. When I eat there, it gives me a fresh feeling.

Cyclo Restaurant is located on the corner of Street 172 and Street 23.

Kdei Karuna Organisation

Kdei Karuna  Organisation

Peacebuilding NGO Kdei Karuna is the first organization that I worked with to do graphic drawings about the Khmer Rouge regime. Working on this project wasn’t hard but it took a long time to finish. Before I decided each sketch, I had to draw a storyboard, and sketch each picture first. I just finished a graphic novel [Your Story, My Story] with them in December, and I spent only three months designing and drawing 60 pages.

Sa Sa Bassac

Sa Sa Bassac

Sa Sa Bassac is an art gallery in Phnom Penh. During my free time, I always come to meet friends to discuss their work experience there. There are a lot of talented artists who come to each event. Sometimes, it is a good opportunity for me to introduce myself to young artists. As an artist, sharing our experiences with each other is important, because we can inspire and guide one another.

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