Sculptors Sought To Keep Tourists at City Parks

The Phnom Penh municipal gov­ernment will be launching a na­tionwide competition to select sculp­tors for statues of famous Cam­bodians destined to adorn Wat Phnom, Governor Kep Chuk­te­ma said Wednesday.

The governor said he is hoping in particular for a statue of Yeay Penh, the woman who, according to legend, founded the capital after finding three statues hidden inside a tree on the site where the city now stands.

“I have to look for perfect and ex­cellent statues of Yeay Penh,” Kep Chuktema said. “We also need to get statues of other well-known people to be installed at pu­blic parks because I acknowledge that people have paid little attention to [modern] statues,” Kep Chuk­tema told more than 150 sculp­ture professors and students of the Association of Cambodian Artist Friends at Wat Phnom.

He also plans to commission sta­tues of animals such as the an­deuk luong, or “royal turtle,” which is now considered an element of national heritage. “I will en­courage Cambodian people to love and care for the statues,” Kep Chuk­tema said.

The sculpture exhibit at Wat Phnom may help persuade future tour­ists to spend half a day to a full day visiting the site where they have previously only spent an hour, he said.

Uth Roeun, president of the As­so­ciation of Cambodian Artist Friends, said the competition and ex­hibit at Wat Phnom may make young Cambodians more interested in the arts and give artists the op­portunity to learn from the country’s established sculptors.

Sar Khunvisal, a 15-year-old student at Tuol Tumpoung high school, said he hopes his artwork will help promote Cambodia.

“I want to become a popular painter and also to be a useful man for my family and country,” he said.

Chhim Sarath, a 23-year-old ar­tist, said the statues may showcase to­day’s art in Cambodia. “Our coun­try does not only have the Ang­kor temples. There are many human resources,” he said.


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