New festival ushers in old lady terrorism

Artist Amy Freeman in the tuk-tuk that she “yarn-bombed"
Artist Amy Freeman in the tuk-tuk that she “yarn-bombed.” TORI GREEN

New festival ushers in old lady terrorism

Old lady terrorism, in the form of a pimped up and yarn-bombed or crocheted tuk-tuk will form a big part of the Sok San Street Festival, a community arts festival organised by artist and photographer Tori Green in bid to celebrate the area and unite locals and expats, to be held on January 26.

“I’ve always been inspired by the Sok San area,” says Green. “There’s always been a little buzz down there that’s made it feel like it could be an alternative area, away from the usual tourist attractions. It could be something more artistic.

“But Sok San Road’s also had its difficulties, the mixture of incoming expat businesses with the local communities has caused some problems at times so I thought it would be wonderful if we could all come together as a community, and have a celebration about how well it’s going down in that street.”

The festival will kick off at 10am and run throughout the day, continuing into the evening.

“During the day we’ll have community art stuff so we’re going to work with the kids,” Green says. “We’re going to use some of the recycled stuff we picked up from the Clean Up Temple Town campaign, and we can make that rubbish into art.”

Among the volunteers helping Green is teacher Amy Freeman, who has yarn-bombed a tuk tuk and will be inviting people to “bling their wheels” on the day.

“Amy’s been involved in the arts community work on a very grass roots level for a long time,” Green says.

“As far as we know it is the first ever yarn bombing done in Cambodia, and certainly the first tuk tuk. It’s a method of art – I call it old lady terrorism. She crocheted it with plastic string. The owner Mr K has been driving the finished tuk tuk around for a week now and is stopped for photographs by tourists often, as well as inspiring local tuk tuks who all want to know how to make their own.

“We’re going to challenge everybody to bling their wheels.”

There will also be a monk’s blessing, a community feast, face painting, art workshops, live music, DJs and a fancy dress competition.

“In the afternoon we’ll have our first live music at 2pm and start to draw people down for that nice, afternoon, chill-out festival feel,” Green says.

“We’re going to do a skate workshop. We’ve got an ex pro-skateboarder in town and a wonderful female skateboarder, and they’re going to be running that. We’ll be doing a graffiti workshop so they can design their own skateboards as well.”

Sok San  Festival organiser Tori Green
Sok San Festival organiser Tori Green. Miranda Glasser

Green says Sok San Road is slowly but surely losing its drunken backpacker reputation with the recent addition of some new shops and restaurants, and she hopes this festival will help cement it as a new artsy area.

Sok San Street Festival is linked to Green’s Hand in Heart Project, which provides support and mentorship to untrained, talented young artists.

“It’s kind of part of that work that I do,” she says. “So it’s not really to raise money, it’s to raise community and to put more art up as well.

“I want this to be the first, not the last, and it’s also about testing the water for festivals and arts in the community. Art can be very highbrow, but it’s a very wonderful thing. It helps us express ourselves, gain different talents and for young people it’s brilliant for when they’re learning, and it’s also a very therapeutic process.”

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