Kumnooh: Cambodia arts for week commencing 2 May 2023

Welcome to the return of Kumnooh.  We were originally established in ten years ago this month as a sister publication to LengPleng.com, the online music magazine for Cambodia, to provide basically a gig guide for the wider arts, covering art galleries, literature, dance, cinema, photography and so on.  The pandemic shut things down in 2020, we returned in 2022 only to succumb to the visissitudes of life late in the year.

Now Kumnooh is back – this Tuesday and following Tuesdays into the future.  Sign up for the email list by sending a subscribe email to fabianhipp@kumnooh.com or just browse at kumnooh.com.  Note that we will be also be expanding our listings to include stand up comedy.  We also hope in the weeks to come to begin including more feature interviews and profiles of artists and arts goings-on throughout Cambodia, so if you have an event coming please get in touch. 

And we have two favours to ask.  One is your patience while we get back up to speed, and your assistance in altering us to new activities or venues that have sprung up (or closed) in the interim that may not be on our radar currently. 

The other is that we are establishing something called Friends of Kumnooh, based on the successful Friends of LengPleng campaign, where we ask venues, artists and individuals to show their support by making a small monetary contribution to keep the lights on at Kumnooh Towers. In return for a boost in promotion, including a non-Facebook web page on our site for direct contact with the dedicated arts audience.  Details on this will come next week.  Queries by return email – fabianhipp@kumnooh.com.

Darryl Collins: an appreciation of his contribution to Cambodia, 1994 – 2023

By Margaret Bywater

Darryl Collins came to Cambodia at the beginning of 1994, as part of a restoration project working with the staff of the National Museum of Cambodia. Completion of repairs to the roof and other renovations were marked by a ceremony attended by King Sihanouk and the then Governor-General of Australia, The Hon. Bill Hayden, AC, on 28 April 1995.  Darryl returned briefly to Australia, but his Phnom Penh experience was to change his life; he resigned his job at the Australian National Gallery and was soon back in Cambodia teaching English at Australian Centre for Education, a connection that he retained for many years as a teacher and an examiner.  He encouraged many young Cambodians to pursue further study overseas.

From late 1999, Darryl was a lecturer at the Royal University of Fine Arts in the Department of Archaeology. During this time the chance finding of a very large collection of small black and white photographs of buildings in Cambodia led to a seven-year research project – he worked with fellow RUFA teacher and architect Helen Grant Ross and architectural student /researcher Hon Sokol produced a groundbreaking work, Building Cambodia: New Khmer Architecture 1953-1970, which was published in December 2006. 

As Manager of the Collection Inventory Project in 2004 Darryl directed the important task of creating a digital register of the entire collection of the National Museum, including the transfer of all the early French records.  Darryl continued to conduct research, further developing his understanding and appreciation of Khmer culture and civilisation, including a one-year consultancy for the Department of Culture and Research of the APSARA Authority, ceaselessly lecturing and writing articles for publication in local and international journals and newsletters.  Darryl delighted in sharing his knowledge with students, the general public and other scholars and interested visitors to the kingdom.  He was appointed to the Board of Heritage International and was still a board member at the time of his death.

Once Darryl moved to Siem Reap in 2008, he became a well known figure in the community and was widely respected for his knowledge of Khmer history and culture. He donated a collection from his own library when the Centre for Khmer Studies Library was establishing its Southeast Asia collection in 2001.

His personal belief in the need to preserve and document traditional Khmer wooden houses and the need to encourage Cambodians to value these beautiful dwellings is the light that shines on every page of his last book, Cambodian Wooden Houses: 1,000 years of Khmer heritage, co-authored with Hok Sokol, published by SIPAR, 2021.

For a more rock’n’roll view of Phnom Penh and the wider Cambodian music scene, please check out our sister publication lengpleng.com, the long running live music gig guide.

Send a ‘subscribe’ email to fabianhipp@kumnooh.com to receive Kumnooh in your inbox every Tuesday lunchtime.

Are we missing something?  Let us know at fabianhipp@kumnooh.com.
See you about…

Fabian Hipp

Event listings:

Every Wednesday Comedy in Cambodia present Stand Up Social at Speak Easy Theater.  7.30 pm.   

Thursday 4, 7 pm at Meta House the Phnom Penh Players present Story Slam storytelling competition.  “No scripts, no cue cards, no weeks of practice allowed!  Bring your best story and tell it the way you would share with your friends. Come to make us laugh, make us cry, or make us feel sorry for you.”  Prompt: when was the first time you realised you were in love?   
More info

Friday 5 Sra’Art presents an open mic hosted by Initial G, from 7 pm – POSTPONED TO MAY 26
More info

Saturday 6 from noon at Sofitel, Tribe Cambodia presents the opening of Elements of the Lotus by Ponleu.   
More info

Phnom Penh Photography Collective’s Phnom Penh Photo Walk #4 takes place this Saturday 6 from 3 pm.  Styles of Phnom Penh is the theme – starts and finishes at Wild but you can join at any time. 
More info

Cine-Saturday at Bophana Center this week – historical films Royal Procession (1967) and Women during Sangkum Reastr Niyum (1960).   Saturday 6, 5 pm. 

Pop up market Psar Bassac will be held 13 and 14 May at community art studio Rong Cheang.  Arts, crafts and workshops – including Terrazzo with recycled glass.
More info

Coming to Meta House on 17 May, The Art of Drag – “Five thoughtfully curated photo sequences capturing the essence of drag performance.”
More info

Later this month – 19, 20, 26 and 27 May – at Java Creative Café Tuol Tom Pong, an independent production of the play Wind Up Mice by Khmer playwright Samithi Sok.  For more information, including ticketing, check the Facebook event here.

Also later this month, Saturday 27 at Seekers Spirits is A-N-T-O-P-I-A / PAPERS – a mixed media participatory installation with performances, exhibitions and the Kampot Playboys.  “Videos and photographs on urban transformation presented by Pisey Kosal, Miguel Jeronimo and Carlo Santoro will stand alongside collages and paintings by three acclaimed artists from three different generations, Suos Sodavy, Chhim Sothy and Chhan Dina.  They will open perspectives on today’s life in the Cambodian cities.  Also join us for a tribute to Srey Bandaul, celebrated among the founding fathers of contemporary art in Battambang province.”

And coming next month to Meta HouseAsia South East-Short Film Festival 2023.


Chhan Dina Gallery
An on-going display of the work of Chhan Dina work from throughout her career is augmented, on a rolling schedule, with works of contemporary masters and up-and-coming painters.  For appointment to view call 012 968 582.
More info

The Gallerist
A continuously rolling collection of works by mostly Cambodian artists.  Currently showing is Roots, the very first exhibition in Cambodia of French Cambodian artist Ramya Chuon.
More info

Romchiek 5 Art Space
Battambang contemporary art studio.  Rolling exhibitions.  

Sa Sa Art Projects
Rebuild by Kong Dara, Leng Kimsreang and Soung Pheakdey on show through to 17 May 2023.
More info

Space Four Zero
Prints, paintings, vintage posters, pop art, CDs and vinyl.  Open daily. 
More info

Srey Art exhibition for International Women’s Day, featuring the works of Dahlia Phi,
Ny Vannak, Raphaelle Martinez, Kari Podboy and Marie Hill.
More info

Regular events, classes, sessions:

Every Wednesday Comedy in Cambodia present Stand Up Social at Speak Easy Theater.  7.30 pm.   

Kids Art Club, Saturdays at Botanico, presented by Sra’Art, 10 am and 11 am. 
More info

N o w h e r e Art Studio
A range of arts and crafts workshops at different times.  Saturday 6 May is Self-portrait acrylic painting, 9 am.  

Khmer Architecture Tours conducts Sunday architecture tours in Phnom Penh to promote the understanding of modern architecture in Cambodia, focusing on buildings erected after independence in 1953, described as ‘New Khmer Architecture’, while setting these in the historical context of Phnom Penh.  Here is the schedule for May.


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