I love street art and make a point of trying to see if there are any notable pieces to visit when I am travelling so I was really excited when I saw that a group of street artists had joined together with the French institute for a street art tour of Phnom Penh last weekend as part of the 2016 Cambodia Urban Art Festival.
As the map was already online we decided just to hire our own tuk tuk driver for the day and take the tour at our own speed which was a huge amount of fun and meant that we were also able to explore Boeung Kak, the “heart” of the Phnom Penh street art scene, in more detail.
We started the tour at the INE (stop 2 on the map) which featured a powerful mural by Cece Nobre, an American-Paraguayan-Brazilian street artist who is now based out of Bangkok.
Next up was street 7 and the Good Krama pop up at the Skate Shop which featured art works from Koy & Alias 2. Koy is a Cambodian artist whilst Alias is from Lille in France (it was great to see Cambodian artists featured alongside those based out of France, South America, Bangkok, the UK and Malaysia)
There was also a pop up drinks stall from La Familia (which was in front of the art work by Koy) where the lovely Jen and Louisa were making Southside’s (a really refreshing cocktail made using gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and fresh mint) and it was at this point we realised that having our own driver was going to be invaluable as we indulged in more than a couple of cocktails whilst catching up with friends!
From here we made our way to street 240 1/2 where there are a couple of pieces to be seen by Alias 2:0, Strange the Rabbit & Mike, Theo Vallier and Chifumi. It was really interesting to be able to see all their unique styles side by side, especially in the collaborative pieces. The little alley ways in this area really lend themselves to street art and there was a great atmosphere as everyone wandered around exploring.
From here we made our way to Chaktomak school on street 214 where there was a huge mural by the French street artist Goddog that took up almost the entire side of a building. This was totally different in style to any of the other pieces we had seen so far on the tour and I really enjoyed the use of colour & geometric patterns he uses.
I was excited to visit Boueng Kak as I had read about the street art there previously but had concerns about going it alone. The area is hugely deprived, one of my friends who was with us has visited a lot recently in her role of social worker to help with needle exchanges (amongst many other things) and it made for quite a challenging experience in some ways as the poverty was overwhelming.
I’ll do another post on the other street art in Boueng Kak as there was just so much to see but here is the work there by some of the artists involved in the Cambodia Urban art tour, including Theo Vallier, Chifumi and Alias 2.0.
Onto the next part of the tour and the Lycee Francais Renee Descartes on street 112 with a huge abstract mural by Mioshe. He developed his love of art throughout high school & I really liked the smaller work he had done on the school lockers, more so than the larger mural.
The tour wrapped up back at The Mansion on Sotheros Boulevard where we were able to catch up with all the friends we had bumped into along the way, along with having some much needed beers and so I didn’t actually see all the art that was there!
What I did find striking were the paintings by Theo Vallier which were in such a different style to the rest his art we had seen throughout the tour. I don’t know much about art but to me that really shows a very talented artist to be able to swap between genres like that and it was a great end to an excellent afternoon.
Anyone can download the map, hire a tuk tuk and enjoy this great street art tour for next to nothing, and it is definitely a great way to explore a different side of Phnom Penh.
I would love to see something like this in Siem Reap and am sorry I’m not staying long enough to try and help put something together there as I think it would be really great – in the meantime Siem Reap residents can enjoy Chifumis mural at The Hive.
- As you can probably tell, I know nothing about street art (apart from the fact I like it!) so please feel free to leave comments if you know anything more about the pictures I’ve posted and I’ll happily update!