Drawn by the City, Sculptor Turns Phnom Penh Into Inspiration

Artist Kong Vollak is fascinated by Phnom Penh.

He was born here and studied at the Royal University of Fine Arts in the heart of the city, and his work reflects the urban environment in which he has lived.

A sculptor by training, Mr Vollak often turns to charcoal drawing and photography to capture the changing cityscape around him.

So taking part in “Pop-up Art Spaces,” whose events are meant to bring art to the street, felt right for this artist so rooted in the city. When asked to do so, he was happy to do it, he said.

On Saturday, Mr Vollak will set up a temporary workspace at the night market at Sisowath Quay and Street 108, and invited people to talk and work with him as he creates pieces on Phnom Penh.

Organized by ArtXprojects for JavaArts, the event will be an offshoot of “Our City,” the arts and architecture festival usually held in September.

From 6:30 pm on, the 27-year-old artist will have a long section of canvas ready for people to try their hand at art. “I have prepared pencils, charcoal and ink for them,” Mr Vollak said.

People in Cambodia get un­comfortable when art departs from realistic images of people or scenery, he said.

So whether they want to draw, talk or just look on Saturday night, he said, “This will take people closer to contemporary art so that they can get a better idea of it.”

The technique Mr Vollak will use for his own work that night will be intriguing enough to spark conversations. He will use a needle to sculpt his own nighttime photos of Phnom Penh. Depend­ing on the technique he applies to the photo paper, orange tones may appear as he sculpts lines on the black-and-white shots.

During the two-hour session on Saturday, live images of Mr Vollak and people drawing with him will be projected on the side of a nearby building, said Natalie Pace of ArtXprojects.



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