My Art Gallery Trail in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia

Siem Reap is steeped in ancient history, famous for its beautiful temples.

Angkor Wat is covered in incredibly intricate detail, and inspires hundreds of people each day. The locals love this temple and even after visiting many times, they still see the beauty in the structure and decoration. Khmer people seem to really appreciate the power and beauty of all visual arts, which is something I loved about their country.

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I come from an artistic background (although sadly life and work has slowly squashed the hours I used to spend drawing and painting) so when I found myself with a day off teaching I decided to use Google maps and create my own art gallery tour.

Here’s a list (taken from my diary of the day) of where I ended up:

1 – Khmer Kids Art Gallery – This is where they teach children art and then sell their work. I met one of the artists, who has this really distinct style of using multiple blending of colours to show form and depth through natural forms.

2 – One Eleven Gallery – This was quite a small international gallery with work from this artist called Christian Develter who takes inspiration from the face tattoos of Myanmar tribes women. The curator working in that gallery was an Australian called Danny.

3 – McDermott Gallery – Lastly after hitting a few wrong turns, and a few gallery duds I ended up here. This was purely photography work from the artist John McDermott, who’s work focuses heavily on Angkor Watt, a lot of which was depicted in black and white.

At the end of my stay in Siem Reap I found the most amazing art shop and school called Colours of Cambodia. Here I bought a beautiful watercolour painting, and was lucky enough to meet the young artist.

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Art is a therapy for the heart and mind, and it seemed like a stronger possibility you could make a living purely as an artist in Asia than in England, where most artists have another job to support their income. Everywhere you turn in Cambodia there’s colour and life and hope. Even the mud on the ground is so rich it looks like it could be used to paint with.

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I’d love to find somewhere to do an art holiday (maybe in Asia) some time soon! So if anyone has any ideas of places to visit, or any organised trips or retreats that include art and/or yoga let me know, as I haven’t found any that inspire me yet!

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