Passion for Arts, the new art exhibition opening at Palate Angkor Restaurant and Bar tonight, is comprised of 45 paintings by 14 students of the Small Art School.
Tomoko Kasahara, Small Art School founder and teacher, started the school in 2008 to give free art education to Khmer children. She says the concept of the exhibition is ‘joyful painting’ and the young artists found their inspiration in different places, from nature to Khmer history and culture.
“In Japanese Kanji, the word for art means ‘beautiful skills’ and the word for picture is ‘joyful painting,’ so I called this exhibition Passion for Arts,” says Tomoko. “Painting is a very joyful activity and I explained this to the kids and asked them to explore their minds.”
The 14 artists range from 12 to 26 in age. Hay Chhoem, 22, who has studied at the school since he was 18, says even though he and his fellow students are not particularly knowledgeable about art, they have a real love for painting and do it as often as they can.
“We just paint how we feel,” he says. “Sometimes I paint about Cambodian civilisation, culture or lifestyle. I have four paintings in this exhibition, including one of an elephant and another of a frangipani flower.”
Some of the artists produced oil paintings while others used mixed materials, crayon, acrylic and collage.
Bandeth Em, 23, looked to people and flowers for his inspiration. “I have three paintings in the exhibition; one is about Cambodians smiling and is related to Buddhist faces,” he says. “Another one is about the imagination of the lotus flower. I like art because I really admire artists in Cambodia.
“Everyone in the world should have art in their lives because it makes their lives better.”
Passion for Arts will run from August 1 to October 31, and will be the fourth exhibition Palate has hosted..