‘Walking’ Photo Exhibition Benefits Orphanage

With a dual purpose, the photo exhibit “Breaking The Walls” took to the streets of Phnom Penh on Saturday.

The event brought photographic art to the public, especially to people who would not normally visit art galleries, and it raised more than $1,000 for the Cambodge Enfance Developpement orphanage in Phnom Penh, said photographer Jean-Francois Perigois.

The event included portraits of everyday people from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Thai­land that were taken by Mr Peri­gois, who is based in Siem Reap, and photos taken by Bart Dirix of the orphanage.

The children of the CED carried the images for almost 2 km along the riverside and were also treated to a trip to the National Museum and a boat dinner party.

“Many people from tuk-tuk and cyclo drivers to tourists stopped and talked to us,” Mr Perigois said on Saturday, adding that many photographers take photos of people in the region, but the subjects rarely get to see the finished products.

Mr Perigois’ signature-style portraits, mixing black and white and color in a single photo, were printed on 80-by-50-centimeter pieces of PVC plastic and assembled together so the children could carry them for the event.

Mr Perigois said he hopes to stage similar “walking exhibits” in Siem Reap and the capitals of the other countries in which he took photographs.

To make the event possible, Mr Perigois and Mr Dirix said a number of things had to be taken care of, including preparing the pictures, finding participants and sponsors, getting clearance from officials and clearing the exhibition with Pho­toPhnomPenh, the photography festival that has been running since the end of November.

And the team did it—in four days.

But Mr Dirix, who did a lot of the organizing, said the effort was for a good cause and the orphanage could use the money. He added that the money will be used to renovate a kitchen and to build a sports field at the orphanage.

“[A] one-thousand-dollar budget will bring us a long way,” he said.


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