Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Man or machine?

You cannot help but be won over by Joel Montague's enthusiasm and zest for life. Forget the fact that he's 78 years old. That doesn't stop Joel from giving his all for the many projects he's involved with at any one time. I had dinner with him last night and he left me in a daze. He's a machine. That never stops. This Friday (25 Nov at 7pm) he will give a lecture at Meta House on the Indochina artworks of artist Jean Despujols, who documented life in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in 1937. The French artist's 350 paintings, watercolours, drawings and photos will provide the backdrop to Joel's lecture. But the works of Despujols is just one small part of the man's interests. He's already published his Picture Postcards of Cambodia tome, available at Monument Books, and is now nearing the end of a book about the early life of celebrated photographer John Thomson, the first man to photograph Angkor Wat in 1865. Thomson is a fascinating character and a look at his early days spent in Asia, alongwith a reproduction of his 1867 book Antiquities of Cambodia, will be very welcome. In later life, Thomson's photographs of China, Cyprus and the streets of London would earn him much acclaim. As for Joel, I'm surprised he has any time to sleep with so many projects on the go at once including his personal collections of postcards, books, posters, shop signs and stained glass paintings.



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