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Cambodian Women’s Woodcut Series

Julien Poulson / Khmer Times Share:
The wood cut prints also feature women in fishing communities. Supplied

Khun Gechsoun (aka Soon) presents her first exhibition of wood cut prints tomorrow at Space Four Zero Gallery, 240 ½ Lane, just off Street 240, Phnom Penh.

Soon’s art depicts scenes of Kampot life – women workers in fishing and farming communities, as well as curious and often comical views of daily life in and around Cambodia’s tranquil but fast-developing coastal province. Soon employs and teaches local women arts and crafts skills and she will bring together the works of her team, alongside her own striking images, in a unique women’s perspective, on the ‘work and life’ for the women of Kampot.

Soon is a highly entrepreneurial Cambodian woman who hails from an impoverished background where she’s grown up working to support her family through jobs such as washing fishing boats, to spending eight years working as maid in Malaysia.

Freshly bloomed lotus flowers. Soon’s work demonstrates a body of illustrative art that depicts a new and fresh view on life in today’s Cambodia. Photo: Supplied

Four years ago, Soon established her own kitchen at Kama (Kampot Arts & Music Association) and has since become renowned for her contemporary Sino-Khmer fusion cuisine as well as her initiatives to develop ‘story telling’ and better tourism through her Kek Soon Cuisine and Culture Tours of Kampot province. Her talents have been spotted by many including Swiss Contacts NGO who have supported Soon’s local work through their Tourism Entrepreneur programme. At KAMA, Soon hosts a number of arts projects for women including a boot camp “Srey’s School of Rock” which lead to the forming of Cambodia’s first all-girl punk band Sou Sou Band.

In a fairytale twist to her story, founder of Hong Kong’s leading restaurant group Black Sheep recently spotted Soon’s culinary talent. Founder Christopher Mark apparently read an article on Soon in Hong Kong Airlines – Inflight Magazine – then promptly handed the ripped out page to his recruitment department with the words “Find this woman”. Soon has since been splitting her time between Hong Kong and Cambodia and takes up an exhilarating new career opportunity as Head Chef with Black Sheep Restaurants where she will develop and tell the story of Cambodian cuisine on the international arena.

Soon’s wood cut prints that would be on display at Space Four Zero Gallery, St. 240 Phnom Penh. Photo: Supplied

Finally, Soon is a self-taught artist whose work in woodcut printmaking is already drawing the attention of buyers and art collectors in Cambodia and abroad. In her first exhibition outside her own gallery Khun Gechsoun’s work demonstrates a body of illustrative art that depicts a new and fresh view on life in today’s Cambodia – albeit the provincial scenes of daily life in the fishing and farming communities and the markets of Kampot.

For further information or to speak with Soon, please call 096 255 4393.

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