Friday, July 8, 2011

Adding to the pile

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro demonstrating some classical moves
A paperback copy of John Lathrop's new novel The End of the Monsoon, set in Phnom Penh, landed in my in-tray today, courtesy of the publisher's John Murray via William at Monument Books. So I have another book to add to my reading pile. I'd better get my finger out and crack on with reading them instead of posting on my blog. Some say that would be a blessing in disguise.
I met the owner of Kanell restaurant this morning. She was in town, trawling the travel agents to promote her eatery which opened quite a few months ago in Siem Reap. It looks great in the pictures, has a swimming pool on tap, rooms for lots of diners and a choice of good quality Asian or Western food. Located on the same road as Alliance Cafe and just around the corner from another new restaurant, Cuisine Wat Damnak, which is much smaller and more intimate.

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro basically gave a masterclass in the rudiments of classical Cambodian dance tonight at the Sa Sa Bassac gallery, as she teamed up with Belle and artist Ouk Sochivy to discuss the evolution of traditions in art. Once she began you couldn't stop her and she regaled the audience with the basics of the artform that she teaches so successfully with her Khmer Arts Ensemble. Some of her troupe were in the good-sized audience, who also got involved by imitating some of the hand gestures. Sophiline explained in an easy-to-understand fashion, the basis for the storylines in classical dance and showed how she is pushing the boundaries to interpret the age-old art into her own ground-breaking style. Belle took less time to explain why she has chosen the path of contemporary dance to express herself and her feelings but was equally passionate for her cause. And rightly so, as she's undoubtedly the best contemporary performer in the country. Ouk Sochivy's exhibition of her paintings hung around the walls of the gallery as the session took place and it was abundantly clear that she has followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, legendary painter Svay Ken, with her distinctive style of painting. However she is forging her own path by showcasing the youth of today in her art, and her In The Club exhibits were typical of her recent work. The evening was hosted by Erin Gleeson and I must say that it was an interesting couple of hours in the company of artists who know their stuff.
Sophiline Cheam Shapiro standing with Belle and Ouk Sochivy seated to her right
Ouk Sochivy's Girl Band painting is part of her youth culture exhibition
Ouk Sochivy's two female models in the unmistakable style of her grandfather Svay Ken

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