SOSORO Museum’s New Temporary Exhibition Unveils the Art of Cambodia’s Pagoda Mural Paintings

The National Bank of Cambodia’s Preah Srey IƧanavarman Museum of Economy and Money (SOSORO) inaugurated on April 2 a unique free of charge temporary exhibition untitled ‘Pigments from the past: scenes of Cambodia through pagoda paintings (1890-1970)”.

The event was held under the presidency of H.E Dr. Chea Chanto, Honorary Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, H.E Dr. Chea Serey, Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, H.E. Sok Soken, Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, and esteemed guests among which members of the diplomatic, culture and education sectors.

The exhibition highlighted a selection of murals that were painted on the walls of pagodas across Cambodia from 1890 to 1970.

Through these photographs, viewers are invited to delve into the artistic essence of these historically significant spaces, underscoring the importance of preserving such cultural treasures.

The murals showcased in the exhibition offer a blend of traditional and religious scenes intertwined with modern references, reveali
ng the talent and humor of the local artists who, though anonymous, have left a lasting mark through their creations.

These paintings also serve as a window into the daily lives of Cambodians, and the impact of technological, cultural, political and social transformations of their times.

Originating from before the war-torn era of the 1970s, the selected pieces represent a segment of the extensive research conducted by Danielle and Dominique GuƩret between 2004 and 2015.

Their dedicated efforts have documented the rich tapestry of mural art in over 3,000 pagodas, dating from the late 19th century to 1973, with 2,000 of them being photographed.

They tell the story of a society in movement, from the influence of foreign presences in the late 19th century to the embrace of post-independence modernity, and the pivotal role of His Majesty King-Father Norodom Sihanouk in weaving the narrative of national sovereignty.

The exhibition also explores the evolution of mural art techniques used in Cambodian pagodas,
from the traditional tempera and fresco secco techniques to the modern use of oil, vinyl, and acrylic paints.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse