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THIS IS NOT VANDALISM

Monday 02 July 2012 by KBS

STREET ART IN PHNOM PENH : THIS IS NOT VANDALISM

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What best characterizes the cultural dynamism of a city ? Its concert halls ? Its museums ? The street murals which cover its walls, for sure ! From Paris to New York, from Rio to Tokyo, urban art is definitely part of pop culture.

In Cambodia, Street Art is still in its early stages. Phnom Penh has recently hosted two famous graffiti artists : Seth from France, and Fonki from Canada, Montreal.

Street Art is not vandalism !
Seth is a travel artist who has already laid his colors down in many capital cities around the world (Brasilia, Argentina, China, Senegal…). In Phnom Penh, he has been officially invited by French Institute of Cambodia to realize original frescoes all over the town. But while he was painting on a wall near the Russian Market, some worried policemen asked him to stop this uncommon performance. The French artist finally managed to finish his works, you can see today at French Institute, French Embassy, or in the street 430 not far from the Intercon.

A few weeks later, it is then the Cambodian-Canadian artist Fonki who had to face trouble with authorities. Although the owner of the wall he chose allowed him to paint on it, Fonki has been questioned by policemen about his work, located on Russian Boulevard. It turns out that his Khmer style graffiti has been covered with white paint upon their request.

"Breath new life into city!"
But the street artist stays positive : "It's okay, I'll try to do the same, only better. Anyway, graffiti is ephemeral art." Moreover, Fonki wants to keep focus on his new project, which will be shown at French Institute on July 16th.

Street art is not yet recognized as a real art in Cambodia. But Phnom Penh City may have a lot to gain, especially from artist like Fonki, who asserts a real Khmer style in his works. "Make a wall more vivid, breath new life into city!", the Cambodian Canadian artist says.

Céline N

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