Street art can come in many different forms. In Battambang this weekend, it will take on a more literal meaning with an outdoor art fair allowing visitors to stroll in the open air and enjoy artworks on display.
The idea was prompted by the discovery that one of the city’s galleries was housing a wealth of art done by local artists.
“We’re not just a gallery,” said Laura Petit, coordinator of Sangker Gallery, which opened in 2014. “We are also—and above all—a facility with studio space for artists to use. And throughout the years, many artists have also stored their works at Sangker so they would be kept in proper conditions.”
More than 150 works—some of them shown in exhibitions, others not—by 20 artists from Battambang are currently housed at the gallery.
So the gallery and the artists decided to make an event of it. On Saturday and Sunday, Street 1.5 will become an outdoor art fair—with awnings on hand in case of rain. This will enable people to casually see artworks on the street, making art accessible to those who might not want to walk into a gallery, Ms. Petit said.
“We have the support of the whole artist community,” Ms. Petit said. “And we also have the support of [Battambang province] governor Chan Sophal.”
Battambang City is known for its thriving artists’ community, largely owing to the NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak, which launched its arts school overseen by artists such as Srey Bandaul and Thor Vutha in the 1990s and has trained some of the country’s most daring artists.
The fair will also spread inside in three venues along the street: the Sangker Gallery, which will mainly feature the work of artist Bo Rithy; cafe and bar Buffalo Alley, showcasing Ben Thynal; and the Bannaly Library & Cafe, highlighting the work of artist Pen Robit. Most of the artists will attend the fair to introduce their work.
On Saturday, the program will conclude with an outdoor concert by local artist Aris, a Cambodian pop singer. On Sunday, there will be a graffiti workshop by French artist Simon Jarnoux and a live painting session.
Ms. Petit said they hoped the event would “enable people to meet the artists in a familiar and friendly context.”
What: Battambang Art Fair
When/Where: Saturday, 2 to 6 p.m., Sun- day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Street 1.5, Battambang City
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