Artistic Impression

Just a quick link to a piece I wrote last week in the Phnom Penh Post on a Khmer artist named Oeur Sokunteavy, or Tevy for short; almost everyone in Cambodia has shortened names, Oeur is actually her surname, I haven’t worked out why yet, but over here the second name is written first.

Tevy (photo by Claire Byrne)

Anywho, Tevy was the first “artist” in the traditional sense of the word that I’ve ever interviewed (though I did do a photojournalism piece on my artist friend Trish once in college) and I found it really challenging. Firstly because I hadn’t seen much of her work as it was ahead of her Love, Death, Dreams exhibition launch, and secondly I know absolutely nothing about art.

What was great about Tevy though was how frank and honest she was, she wasn’t lofty or abstract, she told me exactly what her paintings were about, how she painted them, that she didn’t really have a particular muse, or inspiration, she just painted what came into her head.

But boy does that girl have some crazy stuff going on in her head. I went along to the exhibition launch two days later and for someone so straight-talking, her paintings were beyond tripy. Not what I would have expected from a Khmer artist, but Tevy’s style and content, is incredibly gutsy for Cambodia.

Next Life I by OEUR Sokunteavy

House Spirit by OEUR Sokunteavy

I’ll let you judge for yourself, because as I said, I’m no {insert name of famous art expert here}, but I have to say I like them. The colours are awesome, the ideas really interesting – I just don’t know if I’d sleep too well at night with one of these staring at me from across the room.


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