Siem Reap Scene: 28 May 2009

Siem Reap Scene: 28 May 2009

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Artist Ou Vanndy with his wall sculpture titled "Elephant Head".


The turnout to the launch of the "Present Tense" exhibition at the Hotel de la Paix Arts Lounge on Saturday was possibly the largest ever.

Arts Lounge curator Don Protasio told Scene that he deliberately planned a larger-than-usual attendance to deflate pessimistic reports that Siem Reap hotels are on the verge of going under due to the economic crisis.

Eleven emerging Khmer artists from the Krousar Selepak arts group are showcasing sculptures and paintings in the exhibition, which will run through July.

The sculptures are crafted from a diverse assortment of scrap metal, including gears, bike chains and AK-47s. Artist Ou Vanndy was inspired to make a scrap metal elephant head after seeing a pile of bike chains. Plus he likes elephants.

"They're a very Cambodian animal," he said.

The exhibition is also stands out because a large part of the hotel's lounge has been purposely flooded. The centre of the gallery area, which is lower than the perimeter, is filled with two inches of water. Protasio said the shallow water was designed to reflect the sculptures.

Protasio said that flooding the gallery was simple, but draining and mopping the water will not be as easy.  

Co-curator Sasha Constable could vouch for that, as her art studio was flooded last September, which only cements her status as trend-setter in Siem Reap art circles.


Big city street life comes to Siem Reap in an exhibition of work by Phnom Penh-based photographer Steve Goodman, launching this Friday at Eric De Vries' 4Faces cafe and gallery.

The exhibition, "Unnamed, Undefined, Unclear", features depictions of Phnom Penh's quirky street life.

De Vries said he decided on a Goodman exhibition after a recommendation by Phnom Penh identity Andy Brouwer.

De Vries said, "Steve sent me a lot of proposals, and we went with this street life thing because I really like it."

Goodman, a commercial photographer, has lived in Cambodia for four years.

Outside of commercial work his hobby is portraits, and when he's not taking portraits, he likes to simply walk around Phnom Penh and take photos of everyday things.

"With this exhibition, I decided to get away from portraiture altogether and concentrate on street scenes I have taken.

"Phnom Penh is a funny place, and this series of photos is a metaphor of how Phnom Penh is - a place of stark contrasts, of ambiguity,


The Goodman exhibition will run until June 26


Renowned Siem Reap photographer John McDermott and his wife Narisara are celebrating the birth of their first child, John Mars, who was born on Saturday in Bangkok.

The McDermotts are in Bangkok with Narisara's family, and expected to return in July.

On January 29 this year, McDermott, celebrating his 54th birthday, told the Post that he was about to be a first-time dad.

"We're going to have a baby, that's our new project for the year," McDermott said. "That'll be my eureka moment for the year, and it's my first child ever.  I have never felt responsible enough to do that before, but things change when you start getting a little older."

McDermott is now set to deliver his other oft-postponed baby, a book, the quintessential collection of all his early and now iconic temple work.

"That book's been imminent for a long time," said McDermott. "But it's about there now and I'm self publishing it."


Angkor Golf Resort hosted the Cyclo Ryder Cup XXV tournament, organised by FCC Angkor, from May 21-23.

A strong team on paper representing Team World battled futilely against an array of talent representing Team Europe. FCC stalwarts Haywood, Alderson and Jancloes were the mainstay of Team Europe, steering them to a crushing victory.

Angkor Golf Resort's operations manager, Adam Robertson, reported, "Team Europe, displaying a cavalier style of golf and tenacity, bristled with purpose, whilst Team World struggled on the unfamiliar contours of the Faldo-designed greens and the free flow of copious amounts of Transfusion.

"As the weekend wore on, Team Europe pressed home their advantage and won the title by 17 points to 11.

"In the post-match drinks and dinner at the idyllic FCC Angkor, special mentions went to Mike Gebbie, Team World's Most Valuable Player, and the ubiquitous Anthony Alderson, Team Europe's Most Valuable Player."


The Angkor Hospital for Children is hosting a fundraiser and silent auction tomorrow at 6pm at the Friends Without a Border Centre to help combat malaria, dengue fever and typhoid.

These diseases are expected to flare up in the rainy season.

Entrants will pay US$5 and compete for prizes, including one night for two at the Angkor Village Hotel, a hot-air balloon ride, dinner and drinks at FCC, a round of golf at the Angkor Golf Resort and a sunset riverboat cruise.

The night will include presentations by doctors Ngoun Chanpheaktra and Kheng Chheng on malaria, dengue fever and typhoid.

Meanwhile, the Singaporean surgeons who performed open heart surgery on six kids at the Angkor Hospital for Children earlier this month are happy with the results and keen to do more operations, possibly in July.


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