Cambodia Urban Art Festival
Bringing Urban Art To Phnom Penh.
Oh no, not another Urban Art post! It seems April is a month of murals and graffiti discovery including the ones featured at the recent Cambodia Urban Art Festival. I had missed out on the opening event last Thursday, held in The French Institute and decided instead to attend the free tuk tuk tour last Saturday to view the 9 locations for this festival.
When I first moved here, I had asked my former Bosses on whether there were murals to see around the city. They said no because the Government does not allow people to simply paint the walls with art, which is such a shame because there’s so many beautiful, run-down looking walls that would be refreshed instantly with a large sketch or two.
“It’s a lot easier for most people to access street art than to walk in the gallery – most [locals] will never pass the door of a gallery. Most Cambodian people don’t really even know where contemporary art is or why, or what it is about. The good thing with street art is that it’s free for everybody and that it’s easy to access.” – Theo Vallier
The festival aims to promote freedom of art to the local community and bring more awareness to the beauty of it. The street artists include Theo Vallier, Chifumi, Peap Tarr & Lisa Mam, Tones, David Myers, Kimchean Koy Venk, Eltono and Alias 2.0.
Location 1: The French Institute
Near the Bistrot is a large mural which was painted by Chifumi in the form of Apsara hands. The concept that both he and Theo put forward this year was all about the modern art form merged with Cambodian culture. The whole idea is to make an old culture more modern. Inside the gallery is display of art pieces called ‘Contact’ and an audio visual room which showed the process of mural painting by one of the street artists.
Location 2: Duplex on St 51
We couldn’t go on the free tuk tuk tour because it was fully booked so we hired our own for the day. We showed the location map to Lucky who suggested the route so that we won’t be going around in circles around the city. From the French Institute we made our way to St 51 to check out an artwork by Tones only to see this by Chifumi (or was it done by Tones?). We couldn’t tell because we came on our own, with only a map as a guide. (I later realized that this was not part of the festival, Tones painted a mural on a street just across the main road from this one, but hey it’s still worth a mention!)
Location 3: Chifumi on Norodom
Lucky was more excited than we are in searching for these street art murals. He kept a look out for us as we went along Norodom Boulevard when I pointed out someone standing on a tall ladder with a paint brush in his hand. We had found Chifumi who was busy painting the wall beside the Sokimex Gas Station. We really had to look out for these corners because it can be seen from one side and missed out from the other side. A formation of the Apsara hand can be seen from his painting but we’ll need to come back to see the whole art work.
Location 4: Peap Tarr & Lisa Mam on Norodom
I met Peap Tarr & Lisa Mam during one of our Clients’ event where they were judges for a T-shirt painting competition. Their designs are seen as traditional with a modern style to it, much like the concept that Theo explained for the Cambodia Urban Art Festival. They look like swirls of nature and Cambodian traditional elements, which is part of their trademark.
Location 5: Davido on St 19
We decided to end the tour at our house where a painting of a snake can be seen on the white wall. This was in progress just a few weeks ago where we saw the street artist Davido busy painting away in the hot sun. We had to ask the tuk tuk drivers to move their tuk tuks which were blocking the wall. His style was more of geometry elements which makes up of one large image when completed.
More locations to view the street art in Phnom Penh.
We did miss out on a few more locations because it was hard to find. At one point, we went around the street twice and couldn’t locate that wall. Also places such as Le Moon (above K West Hotel) and the French Embassy was only opened to the public at 4:30pm. We might just return this weekend to look for the remaining street arts but if you’re ever in these area, look-out for those walls. Who knows you might find a dragon, Apsara hands around the corner.
- Tones on Street 51
- Koy on Street 7 (at the Skateistan shop area)
- Eltono in the French Embassy
- Venk in Le Moon, Sisowath Quay
I am personally looking forward to more art pieces that can be seen in public as it creates more awareness on art and it’s beautiful to look at in this progressing city.
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.