Crossing Cambodia

Friday, February 02, 2007

‘Life on the Khmer Railways’

'Life on the Khmer Railways'
Drawings and Paintings Nov 20 - Feb 15, 2006'

Srey Bandole@ The Art House in Siem Reap
Srey Bandole was born in 1972 in Battambang province. From 1982 until 1990 he studied painting with a French woman named Veronique Decrop at ‘Site II’ camp along the Khmer-Thai border. Decrop was the founder of Phare Ponleu Selapak (Phare art school). This school moved to Battambang in 1995 and Srey Bandole has taught drawing and painting from 1995 to the present day.
During the period 1990 – 1995 Bandole worked as a military doctor in Thmor Pouk district, Banteay Meanchey province.

'I live in Battambang province, a place where the trains go through from Poipet to Phnom Penh. This railway was built during the French colonial occupation. The bamboo trains are now in such poor condition and it keeps running so slowly that it seems like a snake crawling. To help their miserable lives, the disadvantaged, including women and hundreds of families have used the train compartments as their permanent shelters. Some people have lived in the railway stations for 25 years. Nowadays they seem to be increasingly lonely as most passengers prefer to go by bus. Sooner or later the government will start a renovation project for this means of transport. Only through these 10 drawings can the shadow of the past be brought back and remind us and the younger generations about the railways and the people that live by their tracks, otherwise they will be abandoned and forgotten forever'.

Srey Bandole

(The Art House is situated upstairs at The Warehouse in the centre of Siem Reap)
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