Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Side project gives glimpse into remote community



Side project gives glimpse into remote community

Back to the Village depicts a Jarai family after picking fruit and vegetables
Back to the Village depicts a Jarai family after picking fruit and vegetables. Cédric Delannoy

Side project gives glimpse into remote community

Back in January 2012 – after beginning a three-year job on a food security project in the remote northeastern province of Ratanakkiri – Belgian bio-engineer Cédric Delannoy found he didn’t have a lot to do in his spare time, so he started taking photos.

The result of the three-year side project – a soulful series of about 30 black-and-white images focusing on the daily lives of ethnic minority villagers – is set to go on display at the Bophana Centre on Wednesday.

Delannoy, who got his first camera when he was 10 years old but still considers photography a hobby, said the main objective of the exhibition was to show people what the province and the people who live there were like.

“A lot of people – even long-term expats – never get up there,” he said.

A photo of a Kreung man sheltering from the rain titled "The Old Man".
A photo of a Kreung man sheltering from the rain titled The Old Man. Cédric Delannoy

Delannoy was working on an EU-funded project called Annâdya, which aimed to improve food security in 63 minority villages in five districts through a wide variety of measures, such as building fish ponds, gardens and gravity-fed water towers.

Visiting each village several times, he became a familiar sight and started to be ignored by the normally shy villagers, which helped his objective of taking unposed and natural photos of daily life.

“They obviously knew I was there – I’m white, so they could see me coming – but the photos are really spontaneous,” he said.

Many outsiders, Delannoy said, were under the impression the area was lushly forested, when most of the trees had been cleared for rubber plantations.

And the traditional culture was disappearing too – few members of the ethic minority groups still wore their traditional clothes, and traditionally built houses were a rarity.

“The life can be hard in the villages,” he said. “The young people really want to improve their lives, and the only way they can see is to move to the city.

“In a few years, I can see the culture disappearing completely.”

Cédric Delannoy’s Ratanakkiri photo exhibition opens at 6:30pm on Wednesday, June 3, and runs until June 16 at the Bophana Centre, #64 Street 200. The opening will feature the screening of a one-hour documentary about the Annâdya project.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,