The 6 Artistic Places You Have to Visit in Battambang

Inspiration can comes from anywhere. I’m a big proponent of getting away from the office from time to time and working in a new environment. It’s amazing what some fresh air, a expertly made cup off coffee, or well designed environment can do to give you fresh eyes on a project! I spent last weekend in Battambang, Cambodia’s sleepy art capital in the the north and picked up a ton of great vibes. Here’s a rundown of the best creative spaces I saw while I was there.

Lotus Bar

Lotus Bar & Gallery is a multidisciplinary performance and art exhibition space.  It’s the brainchild of UK-native Darren Swallow, who a few years ago saw a gap for an alternative show venue in Battambang’s growing creative scene.  He and his wife run the galley as well as a sister shop a few paces down the road that sells art prints, deliciously subversive reading, and other creative gifts. See what’s on view at #53 on Street 2.5

Bric-à-Brac

Bric-à-Brac is a bed and breakfast in Battambang.  Housed in a three storey colonial building, its three rooms, have been creatively renovated with inventive use of found materials and high grade knickknacks.  Many of the cloth accents in this B&B are hand-crafted by its co-owner Morrison Polkinghorne at one of his 5 looms. With three large and unique rooms, he and his partner Robert have definitely created a distinctive experience for travelers looking for higher-end artistic accommodation.  The bottom floor also houses a gift shop selling some of Morrison’s other delicate handicrafts.  Rest yourself there at #112, Street 2.

Bric-à-Brac owner Morrison Polkinghorne at one of many looms
Bric-à-Brac owner Morrison Polkinghorne at one of many looms

Marine Ky’s Artist Studio & Shop

A unique den of tranquility and taste in the center of the arts district near Battambang’s riverside.  Artist Marine Ky opened this retail space cum studio upon returning to the country of her birth after a globe-trotting art making tour of Europe and East Asia.   Past the sumptuous fabric installation at the building’s entrance, visitors can shop for vintage kimonos, Japanese scarves and her artworks. There is also tea service available and if you catch Marine there you might be able lucky enough to partake in a guided meditation.  Look for this eclectic den at #77 Street 2.5
 

Romcheik 5

Battambang’s newest exhibition space was founded by 4 alumni of Battambang’s Phare Ponleu Selpak art school. Artists Hak Bor, Seyha Hour, Chanpenh Nget, and Chankrim Mil under the patronage of a former French cultural attaché to Cambodia, opened this gallery in March of 2015.  Nestled outside of the city’s downtown on a back road across the river, Romcheik 5 displays progressive contemporary Cambodian art.  Find it on Street 201A.
romceik-5-opening
 

Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus

Battambang’s premier education nonprofit also hosts a circus school.  Alumni from it perform nightly shows starting at 7PM year-round.  The performances rotate regularly.  On the night Art Cult. attended they were performing “Influence”, an effective depiction of the corrupting effects of power split into two acts. The first act follows the way that people exalt exceptional people only to scheme to control them once they’ve attained power.  Act two explores the notion of leaders who manipulate through attributing objects and actions with false value.  Tickets can be bought at various locations in Battambang and shows are held at the big top at Anh Chanh Village, Ochar Commune.

Romcheik 5

Battambang’s newest exhibition space was founded by 4 alumni of Battambang’s Phare Ponleu Selpak art school. Artists Hak Bor, Seyha Hour, Chanpenh Nget, and Chankrim Mil under the patronage of a former French cultural attaché to Cambodia, opened this gallery in March of 2015.  Nestled outside of the city’s downtown on a back road across the river, Romcheik 5 displays progressive contemporary Cambodian art.  Find it on Street 201A.
romceik-5-opening

Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus

Battambang’s premier education nonprofit also hosts a circus school.  Alumni from it perform nightly shows starting at 7PM year-round.  The performances rotate regularly.  On the night Art Cult. attended they were performing “Influence”, an effective depiction of the corrupting effects of power split into two acts. The first act follows the way that people exalt exceptional people only to scheme to control them once they’ve attained power.  Act two explores the notion of leaders who manipulate through attributing objects and actions with false value.  Tickets can be bought at various locations in Battambang and shows are held at the big top at Anh Chanh Village, Ochar

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