Category Archives: Art

Making In Cambodia

Source: Making In Cambodia

Making in Cambodia is a fabrication seminar exploring available contemporary fabrication technologies and the potential integration of these technologies with traditional and modern Cambodian craft, artistry and building ornament. The title recalls the common clothing label: ‘Made In Cambodia’ and challenges existing notions associated with the phrase. Making in Cambodia aims to rethink the social and economic realities of creating and designing work in Cambodia.

This is a Fall 2012 course in the Faculty of the Built Environment at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Reused Wood Furniture Assignment The illegal harvesting of hardwood forests and their use in construction and furniture production is an ongoing issue of both environmental and social justice in Cambodia. Can design  promote alternative modes of production?

Reused Wood Furniture

Reused Wood Furniture

Reused Wood Furniture

Reused Wood Furniture

Reused Wood Furniture

Reused Wood Furniture

Reused Wood Furniture

Reused Wood Furniture

No Where Island


Nowhereisland was an island which journeyed from the High Arctic region of Svalbard to the south west coast of England in summer 2012. As it made this epic journey, it travelled through international waters, whereupon it became the world’s newest nation – Nowhereisland – with citizenship open to all.

Over its year-long status as a nation, it accrued over 23,000 citizens and 2,700 propositions to its online constitution, travelled 2,500 miles accompanied by its mobile Embassy and was greeted by thousands in ports and harbours around the south west coast of England. On Sunday 9th September, the island left Bristol and the territory is shortly to be dispersed amongst its citizens.

This showreel documents its journey from Arctic island to celebrated small visiting nation – a land artwork for our time.

Nowhereisland arrived in Weymouth on 25th July for the sailing events of the London 2012 Olympic Games as a visiting island nation, accompanied by its remarkable mobile Embassy, packed full of intriguing objects and fascinating information and hosted by the Nowhereisland Ambassadors. It continued its journey, visiting other ports and harbours where it was hosted by choirs, bands, citizen marches, a flotilla of surfers, gig rowers, sea shanty singers and thousands of people on cliff tops, beaches, harbours and promenades. Find out more about Nowhereisland’s journey here.

Nowhereisland is an artwork by Alex Hartley and is produced by Bristol-based arts organisation Situations. It caught the imagination of thousands of people across the world. 23,000 people from 90 countries have signed up to be citizens, contributing to the online constitution and responding to the year-long Resident Thinkers programme. More than 20 schools and community groups across the South West helped to plan how to welcome Nowhereisland to their local port.

Nowhereisland was a Situations project, one of 12 Artists Taking the Lead projects across the UK, funded by the Arts Council of England, which formed part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in summer 2012.



Introductory film

Filmed by David Bickerstaff and Razaka Firmager. Edited by David Bickerstaff

To view a BSL version of this video click here


Nowhereisland’s arrival into Weymouth


Resident Thinkers on Nowhereisland


For more information, on the project, check out the FAQs.

Download an introduction to Nowhereisland here.

School of Missing Studies

I think SE Asia needs this…


LOST HIGHWAY EXPEDITION engaging artistic and architectural network through the nine Western Balkan capitals

The knowledge that slips through singular disciplines seems to flow freely in an unbound space and networks. It takes a collaborative and experimental practice to scout for it, rather than wait for it. SMS is a network for experimental study of cities marked by or currently undergoing abrupt transition.

SMS are: Liesbeth Bik [BikVanderPol], Katherine Carl, Ana Dzokic [Stealth], Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss [NAO], Ivan Kucina, Marc Neelen [Stealth], Milica Topalovic, Jos Van Der Pol [BikVanderPol], Sabine von Fischer and Stevan Vukovic.

Support: Trust for Mutual Understanding [New York], Kulturstiftung des Bundes [Berlin], Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Culture, US Embassy, Belgrade, Pro Helvetia Zurich. Collaboration and additional help by: Belgrade CircleCEC ArtsLinkKunstverein MunichPlatforma 9.81 (Zagreb), Rex – B92, SKC Belgrade and Van Alen Institute New York.

Riverscapes in Flux

Come. I’m on a panel about rivers.

Riverscapes IN FLUX

Riverscapes IN FLUX is an eco-cultural art project initiated by the Goethe Institut Hanoi in 2012. 17 Artists from six Southeast Asian countries were selected by a regional curatorial team and commissioned to make new works dealing with the subject of ecological and cultural change related to major regional river landscapes. The resulting works comprise a touring exhibition to Bangkok, Hanoi, Saigon, Jakarta, Manilla and Phnom Penh.

Riverscapes IN FLUX: Phnom Penh brings together six of these works by Cambodian, Thai and Vietnamese artists working in new media, including photography, sound and video installation.

Artists: Lim Sokchanlina, Luong Hue Trinh, Phan Thao Nguyen, Sutthirat Supaparinya, Than Sok, Vuth Lyno

18 October – 11 November 2012
Opening Thursday 18 October 6:00 – 8:00pm
SA SA BASSAC #18 2nd Floor, Sothearos Blvd

Related events:

Wednesday 31 October 7pm
Panel at Meta House: Creatives on Cambodia’s Rivers with Sann Vannary, Shelby Doyle, Chum Sophea

Saturday 3 November 7pm
Films at Meta House: Line-up of documentaries focusing on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers

Friday 9 November 6pm
Artists’ Talks at SA SA BASSAC, in conversation with curator Erin Gleeson

All events are free and in Khmer + English
Meta House is located at #37 Sothearos Blvd

Urban Wetland Pissoir

By Wetlands Work! for the Our City Festival. Check out their Facebook Page for visiting hours.

What’s a wetland? What to do with folks peeing on the streets? The Urban Wetland Pissoir will answer these and other questions. He is located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, at the corner of Norodom and Mao Tse Tung, and welcomes visitors!
The Urban Wetland Pissoir was born out of a project for Our City Festival Phnom Penh. The Pissoir consists of a shallow aquatic garden running several meters long. The UWP highlights the challenge of public urination and its subsequent health issues, and the broader function of wetlands in treating urban wastewater, while offering an aesthetic solution. Staff and interns at Wetlands Works! Inc. designed and built the Pissoir as an interactive, educational and artistic installation.






Water Curse or Blessing!? Exhibit

Water Curse or Blessing?! is an exhibition traveling to Phnom Penh from Berlin, Germany for the Our City Festival. The project brings together voices from the Asia-Pacific region to reflect on the issues of water and the environmental and social impact. The exhibition presents 25 infrastructural, architectural, planning, and artistic projects with exemplary local, problem-orientated solutions which have been implemented in China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Emirates, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Australia.

A workshop parallels the exhibition and features dialogues between exhibiting designers and architects from the Asia-Pacific region and Cambodian architecture/arts students and professionals. Exhibition and workshops are curated and implemented by Manolis House in collaboration with the festival.

Here is the website from the original Aedes exhibition. Thank you to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their support of this project.

The challenge of this exhibit was that the original work, sent to us via PDF – in English and German – needed to be combined with the Khmer translation and installed in a space large enough to accomodate the 27 panels (1 m x .8 m). In the original exhibitions the panels were installed on the wall. However, here we re-conceived of them as boxes and installing them in the garden of No Problem Park, a French Colonial era villa – with the intent of making them more accessible to the public than they would be in a typical gallery space.

Our City Festival

Our City Festival photos by Vin Dao.


Urban Currents in 7 Days Phnom Penh Post

Urban Currents: Our City Festival

Created on 28 September 2012 Written by 7Days
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The World of Difference photography exhibition at Baitong Restaurant. Photograph: Crystal Patterson/7Days

Running from September 28 to October 7, the fifth annual Our City Festival will showcase ideas for Phnom Penh’s urban development from of artists, architects and photographers in locations across the city. 7 Days spoke to several people behind the coming week’s exhibitions to ask about their perspective on urban Cambodia’s future direction. The full program is available at

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Part of the Hidden Sometimes Forgotten series at the Plantation Hotel. Photograph Chea Phal/7Days

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Som Vannita and Lorenzo Martini’s concept art for bus shelters in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Com Vannita/7Days

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A student assembles models as part of the Urban Lab series taking place at the Bophana Centre. Photograph: Shelby Doyle/7Days

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One of the sculptures on display at No Problem Park in the coming week. Photograph: Kong Vollak/7Days

World of Difference

In collaboration with Sahmakum Tneang Tnaut, an NGO established in 2005 to promote sustainable housing and develop urban infrastructure, Australian photographer Crystal Patterson’s exhibition aims to capture Phnom Penh’s development boom and changing cityscape against the backdrop of its inhabitants.

“What I basically want to do is provoke the question: who is urban development for?’” Patterson says. “It’s an interesting question to ask because there’s a lot of development happening, and I don’t think it’s asked enough: is it for Cambodians, or is it for foreigners?”
A photographer for the last eight years, Patterson is currently based in Phnom Penh as a freelancer and English teacher.

The World of Difference exhibition opens at the Baitong Restaurant, #7 St 360, at 5:30pm on October 3.

Walking the City

Kong Vollak, a graduate of the Royal University of Fine Arts, is one of the founding members of the prolific Stiev Selapak art collective. For this year’s Our City Festival, Vollak has painstakingly sculpted a clay model representation of Phnom Penh for display in a public park.

The artist is ambivalent about the runaway urban development’s effects on the city, and would like to see the effects on the population be more carefully considered.

“To my mind, I would like have modern buildings built outside the centre of Phnom Penh” he says. “The buildings create jobs for Cambodian people and those that are very poor find the work to have more money, but when they build in the centre of Phnom Penh, I see the problems it causes the residents and the environment.”

Kong Vallak will be exhibiting for the duration of the festival at No Problem Park, #55 St 178, between 10am and 6pm daily. His installation will sit alongside other artists as part of the Multiple Streams exhibition being held in the park.

Bus Stop @ The Urban Lab

Architect Som Vannita and interior designer Lorenzo Martini believe the most pressing urban development issue facing Phnom Penh is the increasing congestion on the city’s roads.

With a lack of new infrastructure and a growing number of vehicles on existing roads, the pair believes that the reintroduction of a public transport system and improved pedestrian walkways tailored to the climate would help alleviate the city’s traffic problems.

“The population of Phnom gets bigger and bigger each year,” says Vannita. “The infrastructure and the roads are still the same. It creates a lot of problems for people travelling around. I think the best way to solve this is by public transportation.”

The pair will showcase environmentally friendly bus stops with a view to combatting some of the problems that plagued Phnom Penh’s abortive introduction of a public bus service in 2001.

Som Vannita and Lorenzo Martini’s exhibition opens at the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre, #64 St 200, at 5pm on Saturday September 29.

Hidden Sometimes Forgotten

Photographer Chea Phal’s interest in architecture stemmed from a friend, who educated him about the city’s holdovers from the colonial and Sihanouk era.

Phal is a founding member of the Cambodian chapter of Urbex, a worldwide organisation based around the exploration of abandoned or off-limits urban areas.

Much of his photography is an exploration of abandoned architectural relics left by Phnom Penh’s wayside, juxtaposed with scenes of frenetic activity and development as the city moves forward from the past.

“The issue is that economic growth has pushed the development of Cambodia and changed it quite a lot, but we don’t pay attention to what that has done in terms of identity to our city and we don’t have and effective appreciation of heritage,” Phal says.

Hidden Sometimes Forgotten will open at 6pm on October 1 at The Plantation Hotel, #28 St 184.

Urban Interventions

One of the most extensively engaged participants in the Our City Festival is Fulbright scholar Shelby Doyle, who has spent the last couple of years researching the relationship between water, architecture and infrastructure in Phnom Penh.

Alongside architectural design company Collaborative Studio, Doyle is staging a public exhibition of potential scenarios for the future of the city’s development.

“The Interventions images are installed as ‘advertisements’ on a series of tuk-tuks, which travel the city throughout the day sharing these ideas with the public they are designed to serve,” Doyle says. “The goal is to treat the city as a gallery space and to communicate with a wide audience which may otherwise not be engaged in issues of public space.”

The Urban Interventions display will begin from October 1. Doyle is also responsible for Mekong Flux, a time lapse video of photos documenting the ebb and flow of the Mekong River which will be exhibited at No Problem Park, and curating the Living Archive exhibition at the Bophana Centre, which showcases the works of current Cambodian architecture students and aims to serve as a discussion forum for the future of urban development.

By People / In Cities: Phnom Penh

By People / In Cities : Phnom Penh | interview with Maria Fernandez Sabau

Contributed by: Sali Sasaki (佐々木 沙梨)
Date Posted: Tuesday, 21st August 2012

The first interview for By People / In Cities: Phnom Penh invites Maria Fernandez Sabau to share her views on Cambodian art and culture. She is a culture expert currently working as an advisor to UNESCO on the development of cultural policies in Cambodia.

Q: If you had to pick one word to describe Phnom Penh, what would it be?


Q: How would you articulate the relationship between cultural heritage and new creative practices in Cambodia?

Cultural heritage is a source of inspiration for Cambodian artists as much as contemporary themes. Traditional elements of Cambodian culture are present in many of the current works. New creative practices in Cambodia are often looking for their roots and connection with the countries’ traditions, as one of the challenges of contemporary Cambodian artists is to find room for self expression in a country where almost every artistic form disappeared during the Khmer Rrouge period (1975-979). This void makes that the use of traditional forms and materials is often combined with contemporary themes in an interesting and unique exploration.

In addition, the magnificent cultural heritage of Cambodia and its contemporary practices have great potential in shaping the country as a complete cultural destination. Until recently it was mainly know for the Angkorian temples’ however, there is a new generation of young artists producing very interesting works in many disciplines: visual arts, dance, music, etc. The recent opening of new art galleries in Phnom Penh and Battambang, the recovery or traditional music forms and the emergence of different style of dance groups make Cambodia a great cultural destination for everyone interested in experiencing the past and present of the local arts.

Q: What would help improve the situation for artists and arts organizations in Phnom Penh?


In Phnom Penh and the rest of the country there is a need for a long term vision of how strategically important culture and art are for such a culturally rich country as Cambodia.

The approval of cultural policy for Cambodia agreed and supported by the government and members of the arts sector will be key for the recognition of the contribution of culture and the arts in the development of the country. There are some efforts on their way, which should be speed up to help rebuild the arts sector. Also the creation of an arts alliance that would acts as a network of artists and private organisations would be fundamental to increase visibility of Cambodian arts nationally and internationally.

Recognition and support:

Public engagement is also required. As much as Cambodia is an artistic country by nature, the work of arts and artists is not always recognised. There is a need to connect art forms with the public in general and to attract the support of patrons in particular. There is an opportunity to connect the rapidly growing number of high wealthy individuals and corporations in Phnom Penh with the increasing number of local creators.

Q: Do the arts and culture have the capacity to bring social change in Phnom Penh? And are they accessible enough for local people?

The arts were and still are part of the Cambodian identity; they express daily realities and conflicts.

70% of Cambodian population if under 30 years old. Society is very traditional but is changing very fast due to the rural exodus to cities and the diverse presence of international personnel and aid workers, while young local people are looking for employment opportunities to increase their quality of life and that of their families.

In this context Phnom Penh is rapidly becoming a modern busy city where art and culture are displayed in western-stile facilities such as art galleries and theatres.

These places are still not obvious choices for local people. Artists and institutions still need to find formats and spaces that make new creative forms more accessible to larger local audiences.

In my opinion art and culture have the potential to bring social change by opening to new themes and realities as well as providing sustainable opportunities for artists. For that the art and cultural consumption needs to increase and become part of the regular habits.

Q: How do you envision the future for young artists in Phnom Penh?

Despite all the challenges mentioned I envision a enriching and exciting future for Cambodian arts and artists. Some years ago the younger generation of artists had been brave enough to initiate the process of revitalisation and reconstruction. As artists and professionals they are reaching maturity and progressively gaining recognition now. They have opened the path for the next artists groups to develop. Arts organisations have also evolved and adapted to this new reality. Organisations like Phare Ponleu Selepak are following artists through their careers, developing new contexts and activities. Also Seasons of Cambodia, led by Cambodian living arts, will bring 125 Cambodian artists as ambassadors of Cambodian art to perform and exhibit in New York in April – May 2013.

In my view all these are positive signs that the re-construction of the arts sector is underway and arts and culture have the potential to become Cambodia’s national signature in the years to come.

María Fernández Sabau is a cultural consultant that specialises in the management of cultural institutions through strategic planning, policy design as well as concept development for new centres and improvement of museum operations.

In 2000 she decided to pursue her true vocation managing cultural institutions and moved to London where she worked as a destination consultant and then joined Lord Cultural Resources. In 2005 she co-founded Lordcultura, the Spanish branch of the leading cultural consultancy group.

During the last ten years Maria has lead more than 30 projects worldwide developing her ability to understand culturally diverse group’s needs and agendas. She is a trusted advisor in the identification of priorities and recommendation of strategies by leading museums, governments and policy makers. Some of the institutions for whom she has provided advice are: the Museum Guggenheim Bilbao, Ministry of Culture of Spain, London Design Museum, TATE Gallery, Thailand Desing Centre, Singapore Ministry of Culture, the FitzWilliam Museum and the Great London Authority.

Maria participates as guest speaker in specialized conferences and University courses and contributes on a regular basis to professional publications on the topics of cultural policy, audience development, visitor profiles, marketing and communication. Her latest appearances were TEDxPhnom Penh speaking about creativity and the Chinese Museums Association Museum Leadership Seminar on the topic of ‘Museums, governments and governance’.

She is interested in creativity and innovation; social and intra-cultural change and the contribution of the cultural sector to the development of the knowledge economy.

Her concern about how the cultural sector can be a driver for development took her to Cambodia in 2011, where she is currently working as Expert Advisor for UNESCO in the development of the Cultural Policy for Cambodia.

By people / In cities is a series of articles and interviews that aims to enhance the understanding of art and culture in Southeast Asia through individual stories and perspectives including artists, cultural practitioners, and policy makers from the following 5 cities: Bangkok, Jogjakarta, Kuala LumpurPhnom Penh, and Singapore.

The second series introduces Phnom Penh, Cambodia, through its cultural heritage and the recent transformations that have been taking place at the intersection of traditional and contemporary practices. 

Arts hub rewarded with €25 000 prize

Source Thursday, 20 September 2012 Claire Knox

Young clowns pictured during one of their show at PPS’s circus in Battambang. Photograph: Rolf Braendels/Phnom Penh Post

“Art is integral for human development, for freedom of expression, for dreaming … but perhaps it’s even more important for young people in a country like Cambodia,” Suon Bun Rith muses.

As director of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS), an arts hub, school and orphanage for disadvantaged children in the outskirts of Battambang, Rith and his team assist almost 80 children bearing emotional and physical scars – victims of trafficking, domestic violence and extreme poverty. They provide medical support, meals, education and a unique arts and performance program.

The NGO’s raison d’etre, however, was always to reinvigorate the arts in Cambodia among the country’s young through a unique arts and performance program, and it now houses three artistic schools in Battambang. Free of charge,  they are open to all and now teach 450 children painting, cartooning, acting, circus acrobatics, music and theatre.

Last week, the organisation was hailed as one of 11 recipients of an annual, worldwide award from Dutch body the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development (PCFCD).

Awarded a €25,000 prize, the award was a “complete, but very pleasant surprise” for Rith and his team, who had been nominated by a mystery advocate.

“I think this is a great opportunity and honours our work and our belief in the arts, I believe we may be the first Cambodian group to win this award.

“We are empowering the youth by using culture as a medium for young people, it’s a very specific award,” he says

The award couldn’t have come at a better time for PPS, Rith says, as wild weather in July had ripped the roof off one of the schools.

“We didn’t have the money to fix it and even though we are not a cultural heritage site, PCFCD also gave us a grant of €1,000 to fix it.”

The award money will be used to upgrade facilities and hygiene systems in surrounding villages and boost staff and resources at the centre.

To contact the reporter on this story: Claire Knox at