Art auction raises $3,440 to help local arts community

Sara Veal

An art auction in Phnom Penh raised $3,440 that will be used to fund an exhibition organized by Visual Arts Open (VOA) in December.

Paintings, sketches, collages and photographs – all 55 items contributed free by Khmer and foreign artists to the fundraiser – all went under the auctioneer’s gavel at a packed Java Express on July 24.

“It was more than we expected,” said Sopheap Pich, co-curator of VAO. “We were wondering where we’d store what we couldn’t sell, and there’s nothing left!”

The highest successful bids were for Vann Nath’s “Landscape”, which went for $300, Linda Saphan and Pich’s “Lightness” ($230) and a series of collages by Douglas Baulos, Matt Posey and Chris Lawson, which attracted between $150 and 160.

A few lucky bidders managed to bag bargains for as little as $10.

Over the course of three hours, the auction met and exceeded the $3,400 that organizers hoped to raise for the December exhibition.

All proceeds went directly to VAO, with no commissions for the contributors or organisers.

VAO is part of Saklapel, an initiative aimed at building a community among Cambodian artists, as well as provide them with support and information.

Saphan and Pich, both professional artists who are Khmer-Canadian and Khmer-American, respectively, founded Saklapel three years ago.

VAO currently works with 20 artists, all expected to contribute new pieces to the December exhibition. Besides Saphan and Pich, the other 18 artists are Khmers living in Cambodia, but there are future plans to expand and include Khmers living abroad and non-Khmers living in Cambodia.


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