Portrait Painters To Benefit From New King

Kimsong Narykun, the 40-year-old artist of some of the most recognized portraits of retired King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Norodom Monineath, has been painting the royal couple for nearly a decade.

With a new king expected to ascend the throne Oct 29, Kimsong Narykun said he hopes to receive fresh orders from businesses and ministries for paintings of King Norodom Sihamoni.

The Phnom Penh-based artist,

who painted the 5-meter wide portrait of a seated Noro­dom Sihanouk and Queen Moni­neath displayed in front of the Royal Palace, and another painting of the former king at the National Assembly, said he is awaiting the release of an official photograph of King Sihamoni before setting to work.

“We dare not draw any other pictures” of King Sihamoni that aren’t officially endorsed, he said. “Artistically, portraits of natural poses are best to the artist, but official people don’t want them.

“When we draw the official portrait, we can make good business,” he said, adding that he earned about $1,000 from each of his large palace and Assembly-commissioned renditions. Those paintings were completed in about two weeks, while smaller ones take about four days to finish, he said.

Now that his paintings of the former monarch have been removed, he said: “Maybe they’ll just keep them in the Royal Palace, or maybe they will all be gone.”

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