Sihanoukville doesn’t exactly have a reputation as the cultural centre of Cambodia. Siem Reap gets that distinction, in part because of its proximity to Angkor Wat. We do have a lot of locals and expats who are talented artists, though, and they finally got the chance to exhibit their work right here in Sihanoukville. The 1st (hopefully annual) Sihanoukville Visual Arts Expo is at Sandan Restaurant, just 50 metres or so down the road towards Sokha Beach from the Golden Lions.
I didn’t attend the opening, but was told it was well-attended by an enthusiastic crowd. I did stop in a couple of days later and have to say I was impressed. All of the work was very good — some of it stunning. I was impressed with this painting in particular:
I hate to single out just one, though. There were a number of very impressive paintings, photographs and sculptures.
Since I didn’t attend the opening, I guess I missed out on the opportunity to watch an artist at work. I assume this photo was taken on opening day. I didn’t take any of these photos because I stupidly forgot to take my camera. Many thanks to STA for giving me permission to pinch the photos from their Facebook page.
Now I’m kicking myself for not attending on opening day. There are so many interesting expats living here now, but I rarely get the opportunity to meet them because I’m holed up at home working and they are creatively and productively going about their business.
Which brings me to the point of this blog. Sihanoukville still suffers from a bad reputation, but that’s only because the worst elements are also the most visible. Aside from business owners, there are dozens of people living and working here who do amazing things. They just tend to stay to themselves. Hopefully, more events like the Visual Arts Expo will bring them out of the woodwork and show the side of Sihanoukville that doesn’t make the news or the popular backpacker blogs.
Speaking of events, Dao of Life has been active in putting on events. They have Rooftop movie nights, Rooftop Salsa nights and other special events on a regular basis. They also actively promote other events and workshops around town, sell secondhand jewellery from India and have a clothing swap shop. To keep up with everything that’s happening there and around Sihanoukville, I suggest you follow Dao of Life on Facebook. Tao of Life is a little off the beaten track, but well worth visiting, if only for a delicious vegan meal and a chat with Shazi or one of the other super-friendly people who work and hang out there. Hmmm – maybe I’ll go there for dinner tonight.