As Third Birthday Passes, Meta House Celebrates Expansion

Tonight will be a first and a last for the art gallery and film screening space Meta House.

The Phnom Penh art space celebrates its third year tonight with a party on its rooftop, the first time the group has thrown itself a birthday party and the last anniversary that will be celebrated at Meta House’s Street 264 address, according to director and founder Nico Mesterharm.

“In 2010, Meta House is moving to another location,” he said. “We’ve outgrown our facility and the space is not enough.”

The new location will have an exhibition space and a rooftop that will show movies and documentaries, like the current Meta House, but Mr Mesterharm said the new space will include a small theater to host stage, dance and music productions. He added the move will take place around May.

Mr Mesterharm said he first opened Meta House in 2007 as a place for local artists to show their work and to screen films for friends.

“That was the basic idea and it still is,” he said. “It was nice but small, kind of like a hobby.”

Mr Mesterharm said another reason why he started Meta House was because, when he first moved to Phnom Penh in 2000, he noticed the city was culturally lacking. Although the city’s venues and artistic community have flourished since then, he said the community still needs to continue its work with the same level of dedication.

“To bring Phnom Penh back on the artistic map, there is still a long way to go,” he said. “It can only be done together and with local audiences attending and participating.”

Alain Arnaudet, director of the French Cultural Center, said the two organizations have collaborated on various projects, such as a hip-hop festival in the capital, and the recent photography festival PhotoPhnomPenh, because Mr Mesterharm and art manager Lydia Parusol have an enthusiasm for artistic collaborations that enrich the community.

“They are some people who make other people do things and that is the reason why they are important to the cultural community, in my opinion,” he said.


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