Inside the Templation in Siem Reap, more than a dozen abstract and non-abstract paintings and one sculpture from artists Chhan Dina and Yamada Takakazu stole the spotlight early this week.
The paintings were hung on the wall and the sculpture placed at the center of the room, with yellow lights adding to the intimacy and stillness the artworks are giving to everyone who looked at them. All the art pieces from the Cambodian and Japanese artists depict the daily lives of the people of the Kingdom and the Apsara; thus, it’s theme – Power of Life.
Dozens of locals and foreigners stopped and stared at each art piece, emerging themselves on the ‘life’ that the paintings render and knowing Cambodia just a little bit more. Everyone openly discussed about the artworks and shared their own perspectives about the artworks and the genius artists behind the masterpieces.
Yamada Takakazu, a master in Japanese traditional painting, first stepped in Cambodia in 1994 and later founded one of the leading art schools in Cambodia under the name Yamada School of Art in 2012. He told the exhibition audience that he wants his art pieces to inspire development and improvement in the local art scene.
“I personally love Cambodian arts and always expect to see more people care about their beautiful arts. That is the reason why I built an art school. It’s for Cambodians to keep the arts alive,” the Japanese artist shared.
With his art school and his wide connections in the Cambodian art industry, Mr Yamada was able to meet leading female artist Chhan Dina – the Cambodian artist who has staged several exhibitions in various countries, bringing the Cambodian pride everywhere she goes.
Mr Yamada decided to collaborate with Ms Dina in creating a new theme for this year’s celebration of the 65 years of friendship of Japan and Cambodia. Both renowned artists already held a joint exhibit last year.
“Our paintings are really different. But I am so happy to see lots of people coming to support us. At least, it becomes a big motivation for us to continue this long friendship between our countries,” Mr Yamada noted.
Having been inspired by American artist Ronald Reimann, Chhan Dina learned painting when she was 13. She always pushed herself to think out of the box until she became an expert in her passion. Ms Dina said she is honoured to join the exhibit with Mr Yamada at Templation.
“Despite the exhaustion, I really care about my works and the quality I produce. I am so happy to be collaborating with a well-experienced Japanese artist who founded an art school in Cambodia.”
“Art is a tool to move and develop people. It is not really hard nor easy. You just have to spend a lot of time, paint every day if you want to be good at it. Success does not come without commitment,” Ms Dina said.
Ms Dina said she wants her artworks to serve as a message to Cambodian women to follow their passion and work hard towards success.
After the artists’ speeches, the attendees were also able to witness a contemporary dance by 15 artists from Banteay Srei Dance Conservatoire (Secret Dancer of Angkor). The dancers, wearing pink garbs, danced similarly to Apsara gestures accompanied by a Japanese song.
Templation, one of the well-known hotels in Siem Reap, has hosted several art exhibitions in the past years.
Bernard Cohen, communications manager of Templation, said that the hotel values Cambodian arts as part of the Khmer culture. He added that art is a tool to build peace among people and among nations, providing a common medium to understand differences and celebrate similarities.