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SOSORO Museum Unveils Captivating Exhibition on Cambodia’s Pagoda Mural Art

Phnom Penh, April 3, 2024 – The Preah Srey Içanavarman Museum of Economy and Money, known as the SOSORO Museum, proudly inaugurated a captivating and free temporary exhibition on April 2, titled “Pigments from the Past: Scenes of Cambodia through Pagoda Paintings (1890-1970).” This exhibition, under the distinguished patronage of Dr. Chea Chanto, Honorary Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, Dr. Chea Serey, Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, Sok Soken, Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, and attended by notable figures from the diplomatic, cultural, and educational sectors, offers a unique glimpse into the art and history of Cambodia.

Featuring a carefully curated selection of murals from the walls of pagodas across Cambodia, this exhibition transports viewers back in time, from 1890 to 1970, revealing the deep artistic and cultural significance embedded within these sacred spaces. The murals, a fusion of traditional and religious motifs with modern influences, stand as a testament to the creativity, wit, and talent of the artists, who remain unnamed but have left an indelible mark on Cambodia’s cultural heritage.

These paintings not only depict the daily life and societal changes of Cambodians but also encapsulate the technological, cultural, political, and social transformations of their era. Sourced from the extensive fieldwork by Danielle and Dominique Guéret conducted between 2004 and 2015, the selected artworks represent just a fraction of the over 3,000 pagodas documented, capturing the essence of a society in flux.

From the influence of foreign entities in the late 19th century to the dawn of post-independence modernity and the significant influence of King-Father Norodom Sihanouk in shaping the narrative of national identity, these murals narrate a rich story of Cambodia’s past.

Furthermore, the exhibition delves into the evolution of mural painting techniques used in Cambodian pagodas, tracing the journey from traditional methods like tempera and fresco secco to the contemporary application of oil, vinyl, and acrylic paints.

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