UK envoy joins fundraiser for Battambang art school

Britain’s ambassador to Cambodia took part in celebrations in Phnom Penh to celebrate 70 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II – the longest-serving monarch in British history.

Ambassador Tina Redshaw took part in a live painting event by British artist Carne Griffiths on Saturday, followed by an art auction at the Hyatt Regency to raise money for an art school in the province from Battambang.

She said she was happy with the fundraising event for the Terry Mallkenny Foundation which hopes to contribute to the development of Cambodian artists and art learners.

“I really appreciate Tribe Art Cambodia and Carne Griffiths for taking the time to organize the event and donating the money from the sale of his works to help Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang province, an art school Cambodian non-profit,” she said.

“The contribution of Tribe Art and Griffiths will produce many talented new artists in the Kingdom, as the scholarships will help Cambodian art learners to study abroad and in the country,” she added.

Griffiths performed his painting live in front of an audience to show off his unique style using liquids such as splashed tea on the canvas and letting it drip as he transformed it into a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

“I drew flowing liquid on paper in images of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Buppha Devi and other women because the splashes of water represent human freedom and the faces of women represent natural beauty “, did he declare.

His painting was auctioned off from a starting price of $5,000 and sold for $8,500, with the money going to Phare Ponleu Selpak.

Osman Khawaja, Executive Director of Phare Ponleu Selpak, thanked Terry Mcllkenny Foundation curator Nat Di Magio.

“Covid-19 reduced financial support to Phare Ponleu Selpak and it typically cost $1,800 per year to train a professional arts student,” Khawaja said.

He added: “Covid-19 has hit us hard as we have lost 60% of our income over the past two years when our social enterprise, Phare Circus in Siem Reap, had to suspend operations due to lack of tourists”.

Kayleen C. Rice