PHNOM Penh’s art scene is thriving, as evident in the number of events popping up throughout the city, especially in recent years. However, to many, arts can only be admired, not owned. The average cost of fine art is typically too expensive for casual aficionados to invest in.
Artists Lolli Park and Syahrulfikri Razin Salleh look to solving this problem with Phsar Art 2019, a curated art market designed to bridge the gap and bring art into the homes of everyday people.
“We want to create a unique event. While we respect the viewing and showcasing of art in a designated gallery, that is just not how we want to do it.
“We want to make art affordable and accessible to others. That is also why we have imposed a certain price limit to all artists involved in this year’s Phsar Art,” Mr Syahrulfikri, fondly known as Ajin, told Good Times2.
The Korean-Malaysian creative couple is the founder of N o w h e r e Art Studio (in Norodom Boulevard), a space for artists to exchange ideas and form stronger connections within the local art community. The duo is also known as the brains behind many other creative projects such as ‘Muy Dollar Portrait’ and ‘100 Faces of Phnom’ Penh.
The inspiration for Phsar Art 2019, third of the series, was drawn from an art bazaar and mini festival in Malaysia called ‘Art for Grabs’. The Malaysian festival is known to feature a variety of art merchandise by up-and-coming local artists, which in return serves as a business opportunity for the local art community. This, the duo said, is what they want to emulate here.
“We want artists, especially young Cambodians, to know that you can make money from your art. Art is no longer just a hobby.
“Rather than posting your artworks online and gain virtual benefits, translate them into merchandise and sell them. Why chase ‘likes’ on Instagram when you can make an income out of it,” Ajin said.
As opposed to inviting artists who are well-known or personal friends from the industry, this year the duo had put out an open call on Facebook for professionals and amateurs alike to showcase and sell their artworks at Phsar Art 2019. Having an open call breaks through one of the toughest challenges of starting a career in the art world: getting exposure.
As a result, the event will bring together 10 Cambodian artists, 11 Cambodia-based artists and eight regional artists from Malaysia and Indonesia.
“These artists have been selected based on experience — from super fresh, emerging to senior; their use of different mediums, techniques and visual aesthetic; and from various nationalities and cultures.
“Through this selection, we hope the audience, especially Cambodian youth, will be exposed to the endless possibilities of art-making,” he said.
Don’t assume the artists will be the only ones getting to create. Many of the artists at the event will be hosting interactive activities, along with showcasing their own art. Attendees could get to learn a bit of woodcutting, calligraphy, bookbinding and cake decoration at the workshops during the event.
Phsar Art 2019 will take place at ‘The Plantation’, an urban resort and spa located in the heart of Phnom Penh. The art expo will have a backdrop of lush gardens and pools, advertised as ‘a green oasis offering a warm, human touch and a haven of peace and harmony’.
It is all happening on Oct 19 (Saturday) and Oct 20 (Sunday) from 9am to 6pm. Admission is free, and the event is open to the whole family. For more information, log on to Phsar Art Facebook page.
(in alphabetical order):
1-Heartwork សម្រាប់ជីវិត / Phnom Penh (French)
2-Jenna Hang (American)
3-Joshua Chiang (S’porean)
5-Nicolas C Grey (UK)
6-Sarah Marcni (French)
7-Syahrulfikri Salleh aka Ajin (M’sian)
8-Théo Vallier Art (French)
9-Travel Roll – Raphaël Seyfried (French)
2-Hidden Rainbow (M’sian)
3-INCH LAB (M’sian)
4-Kupeh Rodriguez (M’sian)
6-Messy Desk Studio (M’sian)
8-TinyPinc Miniatures (M’sian)