The fifth of my TRAVAILOGUE exhibition is up and running, this one held at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnom Penh. I will transfer a smaller version of the show to the FCC Angkor in Siem Reap for the month of October. Hopefully the shows have and will amuse the many expats, tourists and locals who have little opportunity here to see contemporary art that is not primarily created for the tourist dollar.
My current abode is an apartment that overlooks three rivers, the Mekong, the Bassac and the incredible Tonle Sap which changes its direction of flow twice a year due to the massive difference between the amount of water in the Tonle Sap Lake during the wet season and the dry season. The color of these waterways ranges from dusty metal to brown to orange, blue and blends of all of these shades. Electrical storms adorn the night skies as I work away in the studio on new paintings with the flavors of Arctic melt lakes, tropical rivers and patterns born from the lineage of my line making over the years as an artist. The tiny geckos I co-habitat with bark at the work so I presumptuously take that as a positive response from these cute creatures who are obviously very keen on contemporary art.
Time not spent painting is spent mostly under overhead fans at the popular FCC bar, where it is not too difficult to bump into people you know. A friend whom I used to live with in Darwin back in 1984 found me at the bar as did a man I last saw on the Yamal heading to the North Pole. Another watering hole directly below my flat at street level is run by the charming owner named Hurley. He can be often found watching the always hypnotic and always very real life of Phnom Penh busy itself on the riverfront. Land-mine casualties, large and small boats, children selling books and flowers, thousands of motor bikes, monks, back-packers, NGO 4 wheel drives, trucks, locals and the odd elephant all plod or zoom past. Above the river promenade are international flags which make me feel sort of at home in the world. These colorful emblems billow in the winds and seem to symbolize Cambodia's desire to also be at home in the global world rather than the lost geographical soul it has been in the past.
These rich views that I am lucky enough to devour are woven together with scars from the bloody Khmer Rouge period and spanking new money from abroad. Corruption and hope. The very good and the very bad all float by just like anywhere really…
© Stephen Eastaugh, 2019. All Rights Reserved.