An interesting scene
Published/Last edited or updated: 24th March, 2021
For a small town, Battambang has its share of interesting galleries and cultural spaces and a lively art scene worth seeking out.
Phare Ponleu Selpak is an organisation that aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged children though music, art and circus training. The art school has become a cradle for Cambodia’s emerging art scene and graduates have gone on to form the heart of a lively cultural scene that is part of what makes Battambang such a pleasure to visit. A small group of galleries and cultural spaces host the work of many of these graduates, and other artists from across Cambodia, and hold regular exhibition openings. It can be a lovely way of tapping into the local scene here if you manage to come across one.
Romcheik 5 is an industrial space that was opened in 2012 by four young artists who initially used it as a workshop and studio. It has expanded since then and now has plenty of space for rotating exhibitions and a permanent exhibition upstairs.
The permanent exhibition, Made In Battambang, brings together the work of 25 artists from the city and is an impressive demonstration of the creativity, verve and talent of these artists, as well as an insight into the questions and issues that affect young Cambodian lives. Many of these artists have exhibited their work across the world. This is not a parochial scene by any means.
On Street 2, Sammaki is an established part of the Battambang art scene, though has changed hands a couple of times. This small space holds regular exhibitions of work by established and up and coming artists. Inclusiveness is a core element of their philosophy and the last time we visited, they were hosting a fantastic exhibition of photographs taken by a young local who is not a professional photographer (yet).
Lotus Bar & Gallery is a new space on Street 2.5 with a lively bar downstairs and expansive gallery space upstairs. You’ll also find plenty of work on the walls around the bar. The owner is married to one of Cambodia’s most celebrated artists, Khchao Touch, and you’ll find her work here as well as many more.
Choco l’Art Cafe also provides a gallery space for artists within the cafe itself and was created by one of the original founders of Phare, Pra Ke. His very distinctive work as well as the work of numerous other Cambodian artists can be seen here—and do not forget to try their stunning desserts as well.
Romcheik 5: St 201A, Battambang; T: (092) 159 786; email@example.com
Sammaki #87 St 2.5, Battambang; sammakiart.tumblr.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lotus Bar and Gallery: #53 St 2.5, Battambang; T: (092) 260 158.
Choco l’Art Cafe: St 117, Cambodia; T: (010) 661 617; www.chocolartcafe.com.
Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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