Cambodian culture is so rich in art. But both the art and the artists today are often underappreciated. Creativity in the Kingdom has decreased because of the depleting value they receive from its supposed audience.
To keep the art and the artists alive, Keo Somrith, lecturer at Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) initiated the “Students’ Art Exhibition” to showcase the artworks of his students at the Mix Café to make them visible to the public.
“People are not that interested in art; thus, the number of students enrolling in arts decrease year by year. This is a really bad sign as the human resource in this area is getting less and less,” Mr Somrith expressed.
The exhibition at Mix Café is aimed to push for the livelihood of Cambodian artists. “We at the Mix Café are organising an art exhibition showcasing the achievements of new generation art students from Royal University of Fine Arts with 3 main goals: to preserve, to push for, and to innovate,” the café wrote on its official Facebook page.
The Students’ Art Exhibition was officially launched on the 6th of July, with many art students coming to see their paintings displayed on the wall all over the café.
Long Bunla, a 23-year-old senior art student, showed up at the café with his friends to check out the art exhibition, as well as his own artwork. “This event allows us, current art students, to showcase our artworks. It also gives us work to do,” he said.
Huy Panhavorn, marketing manager at Mix Café, expressed that he and his two other friends initiated this art event because they realised that the painting market in Cambodia is slowly dying. He continued that the attention people give towards art nowadays is troubling, a stark contrast to how Khmers value and honour arts in the past. And, the decreasing number of art students is a solid indication that the country may soon not see any painting or any painter.
“We want this art event to be a platform, where students or artists can show their creativity through their artworks to the general public. And, we also want to raise awareness that our artworks are not losing against international paintings. We have so much to show in terms of creativity and passion for arts. It’s just that we did not have the right place to showcase our works before.”
The Students’ Art Exhibition at Mix Cafe will run until 20th of July to give art students and their artworks the spotlight they deserve.
Mix Cafe is located near the Russian Market.