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Art show celebrates Japan-Cambodia ties

Painting on display at the Cambodian Arts Making a Global Leap exhibition at Rosewood Phnom Penh on July 13. LXIN
Painting on display at the Cambodian Arts Making a Global Leap exhibition at Rosewood Phnom Penh on July 13. LXIN

Art show celebrates Japan-Cambodia ties

A fascinating art exhibition, Cambodian Arts Making a Global Leap, is currently on display at Rosewood Phnom Penh, signifying a milestone of 70 years of friendly relations between Japan and Cambodia.

This enriching showcase is orchestrated by the respected Japanese artist and educator, Takakazu Yamada, best known for founding the Yamada School of Art in Phnom Penh.

He curated this exhibition to shine a spotlight on the remarkable artistic accomplishments of both Cambodian and Japanese artists.

Yamada is passionate about the future of Cambodian art.

“The local artists are forging ahead in a unique genre of contemporary art that is quite distinct from other artistic thought processes. Artists such as Sary, Daro, Darin, and Sovanlika have a shared affinity for nature, and they all portray it in their individualistic manner,” he said.

Takakazu Yamada, born in 1957 in Nagoya, Japan, is an accomplished artist and educator.

He concluded his higher education at the Aichi Prefecture University of Fine Arts in 1981.

His talents and broad experience led him to the world of art restoration and preservation, where he’s become a respected authority.

He has contributed over two decades to the art world, and his body of work earned him an advisory position at the prestigious Japan Art Institute.

While maintaining a guest professorship in painting at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) in Phnom Penh, Yamada splits his time between Japan and his art school in Cambodia.

Yamada’s unique creative process draws from nature and the intricate relationship that humanity shares with it.

His focus is particularly on the charming silhouettes of trees, silent bystanders to the steady progression of time.

Yamada fondly reminisces about the inception of his Cambodian journey.

“I was captivated by the culture, mythology, and magic of Cambodia when I first set foot in Angkor Wat in the 1990s,” he confessed.

In 2007, he became a professor at the RUFA and founded the Yamada School of Art in 2012 to nurture local artistic talent and provide a platform for the next generation of Cambodian artists.

Yamada is driven by a heartfelt commitment to foster the art scene in Cambodia.

“For the past 12 years, I have devoted myself to advancing the artistic scene in Cambodia, aiming to infuse it with the knowledge I gathered in Japan,” he shared.

“By conducting art competitions and exhibitions annually, I wish to present Cambodian art to the world as an integral art project,” he added.

The Cambodian Arts Making a Global Leap exhibition at Rosewood Phnom Penh is an exquisite portrayal of the natural splendour and cultural wealth of Cambodia, presented through a diverse range of art pieces.

Yamada expresses an optimistic outlook for the future of Cambodian art.

“I want to send a message to the people of Cambodia and the rest of the world that the emerging generation of Cambodian artists has the potential to gain international fame – and that day isn’t far off,” he affirmed.

As the primary curator, Yamada sought collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, the Kingdom of Cambodia, Rosewood Phnom Penh, and the Dream Girls Project, an initiative aimed at supporting Cambodian women.

The exhibition Cambodian Arts Making a Global Leap is an extension of Yamada’s vision, exhibiting the distinct viewpoints, narratives, and artistic styles of four alumni from the RUFA.

This vibrant showcase includes an exceptional painting by Yamada, symbolising the creative union between Japanese and Cambodian artistry.

The exhibition also presents the creative prowess of four outstanding Cambodian artists: Nou Sary, Nout Daro, Pang Darin and Sam Ol Sovanlika.

Each of these gifted artists contributes their unique artistic style and perspective, together crafting a collective celebration of the Kingdom’s rich landscapes, historical legacy, and diverse communities.

Nou Sary, an established interdisciplinary artist, explores themes of nature, humanity, and hope through various artistic mediums. His artwork presents a breathtaking overhead view of glowing amber rice fields, encapsulating the tranquil beauty of Cambodia’s agricultural traditions.

Daro, a painter and sculptor, dives deep into the reservoir of Cambodian history and culture, crafting compelling narratives with his detailed artworks.

Darin, a young painter profoundly connected to nature, envelopes the viewers in the lush, verdant canvas of the Cambodian jungle through his vibrant and evocative paintings.

Sovanlika, a painter from Phnom Penh, beguiles with her dreamy interpretations of the world, prominently featuring vividly rendered fish set against neon-hued landscapes.

Sovanlika conveyed her heartfelt appreciation for Yamada’s support on her social media account.

“Thank you so much, teacher Yamada Takakazu, for your guidance to bring Cambodian Artists to the world,” she wrote.

Yamada is of the opinion that this budding generation of Cambodian artists holds immense potential for international recognition and eagerly desires to showcase their talent to Cambodian and global audiences alike.

The “Cambodian Arts Making a Global Leap” exhibition, marking the long-standing friendship between Cambodia and Japan, is an initiative Rosewood Phnom Penh takes pride in organising. The ultimate goal is to promote Cambodian culture and nurture friendships.

Daniel Simon, the managing director of Rosewood Phnom Penh, expressed his delight in witnessing the rapid ascension of Cambodian artists and emphasised the hotel’s commitment to bolstering their artistic endeavours.

Simon is optimistic that the exhibition will serve as a beacon of inspiration for young Cambodian artists, encouraging them to hone their skills and present them to the world.

“Since Rosewood Phnom Penh opened its doors five years ago, we have observed the astonishing growth of Cambodian artists and have made it our mission to support this evolution,” Simon expressed.

Cambodian Arts Making a Global Leap will be on view from July 1 to November 1 at Rosewood Phnom Penh Art Gallery, situated on the hotel’s 35th floor.

The exhibition is open to the public free of charge, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty and creativity of Cambodian and Japanese art.

The exhibition stands as a tribute to the enduring friendship between Japan and Cambodia, and applauds the remarkable journey of Cambodian art onto the global stage.


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