Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You Khin - more than just a home

A riot of colour as Indian dancers perform - by You Khin (1949-2009)
You Khin is the name of a new guesthouse that has just opened its doors on Street 830 in Phnom Penh, but it's also the name of an artist who's surrealist style of paintings hang on the walls throughout the building, his former home. Tucked away in a quiet sidestreet, the guesthouse is cosy, just seven comfortable rooms with a small swimming pool and a lovely gallery area lined with paintings where the children from the next-door Seametrey school for the underprivileged come to practice their music and dance lessons. School director and guesthouse owner Muoy You has opened up her home and her husband's art to visitors, feeding all the profits back into her school and her hopes for the children of the city. As for the art, You Khin travelled widely after his schooling in France, including Africa, the Middle East and London before returning to his homeland in 2004. Much of his work focuses on women as a central theme and 2009 saw his first solo exhibition in his own country. He passed away the same year. The inaugural You Khin Memorial Art Prize was awarded recently, the first arts competition in Cambodia designed specifically to promote and celebrate the role of women in the arts. His memory lives on, both in his art and his legacy.
Three You Khin paintings inside the gallery on the ground floor
A woman takes a nap whilst sewing
Titled 'Deafness and Blindness' as the woman depicted dances to a beat
An African woman and child (left) and a girl at school
The You Khin guesthouse on St 830 in the Tonle Bassac area of the city



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