Wall art in Cambodia has never been popular. But in recent years, graffiti in this Southeast Asian country has evolved and developed into something that boasts not only art but also the Khmer culture as well.
A part of Beoung Kak, a neighborhood in Phnom Penh, was supposed to be redeveloped back in 2007. Protests happened and fast-forward to a few years later, the abandoned buildings in this lake side part of the city became the perfect canvass for graffiti artists.
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Lisa Mam, the most successful woman in this art genre, and Chifumi, a Phnom Penh-based foreigner who is one of the organizers of Cambodia Urban Arts Festival, combine their art with modern elements blended with Khmer art and architecture. Chifumi is known for his art that is reminiscent of Apsara dancers in Cambodia.
The Angkor Wat and known gods of the country are also present on some of the younger generation’s graffiti. Rahu, for example, who is historically known as a god who lives in the sky has been used as inspiration for some of the art. Khmer lettering is also a trend in street tagging.
Many artists in Cambodia believe that this is vital for the country’s street art to thrive. It not only represents the Khmer culture but also showcases the artistic abilities of Cambodia’s new generation of artists.