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Prestigious Nhek Dim Painting Donated to SOSORO Museum by Australian Diplomat's Family

Phnom Penh, March 27, 2024 - The Preah Srey Içanavarman Museum of Economy and Money, more popularly known as SOSORO, has become the proud recipient of a significant 1960s landscape painting by the renowned Cambodian artist Nhek Dim, courtesy of the family of the late Australian diplomat, Robert Merrillees.

The official handover took place on March 25 at the museum in Phnom Penh, attended by Dr. Chea Serey, Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, Justin Whyatt, Ambassador of Australia to Cambodia, and members of the Merrillees family.

This modernist depiction of rural Cambodia was acquired by Robert Merrillees and his wife Helen in the late 1960s during his diplomatic service in the country. Following careful restoration by the Merrillees family, the painting has been donated to the SOSORO Museum to ensure its preservation and public accessibility.

Blaise Kilian, Co-director of the SOSORO Museum, expressed gratitude for the donation, highlighting its significance in representing Cambodia's rich cultural and artistic heritage from the post-independence era, which was nearly obliterated by subsequent war and the Khmer Rouge regime. He noted the donation's timely contribution to the museum's newly inaugurated exhibition segments that focus on Cambodia's socio-economic history during the Independence, the Khmer Republic, and the Khmer Rouge era.

Dolla S. Merrillees, the daughter of Robert Merrillees, emphasized the painting's cultural and historical importance, expressing the family's pleasure in returning Nhek Dim's artwork to the Cambodian people. "Given that most of his works were destroyed by the Pol Pot regime, we hope this painting will be cherished by future generations," she remarked.

The SOSORO Museum, an initiative of the National Bank of Cambodia, aims to educate the public about Cambodia's economic history and the evolution of currency. It employs a mix of ancient artifacts and contemporary technology to offer a comprehensive museography experience.



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