Cambodia – Sculpture becomes more attractive amid national efforts to breathe life into the profession


Location: Pursat province – Cambodia

Language: Cambodian

Duration: 00:6:03

Source: A24

Restrictions: A24 Subscribers

Dateline: 04-03-2022


Pursat marble and natural stone sculptures have been famous for many years. Now, however, the art of sculpture has been hit hard by many financial issues, as it reels from the low market demand.  provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts has raised the alarm on the issue and expressed its concerns, as the grave issue has led to a capital flight and brain migration, with Thailand being the sculptures’ preferred destination for better living conditions. To tackle this issue, the Ministry has been holding workshops and providing instructors on the art of sculpture. Mr. Lach Phengly, who is the Director of Pursat Provincial Department of Cultural and Fine Art, said that he is keen on keeping the profession alive in Cambodia, adding that sculptors would be able to provide their assistance as experts to countries like France, which takes interest in Cambodia’s Khmer, emphasizing that the profession at heart still belongs to the Khmer people.


(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Lach Phengly (Director of Pursat Provincial Department of Cultural and Fine Art):

“We are very proud that our Pursat province has excellent craftsmanship, including in marble carvings.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Lach Phengly (Director of Pursat Provincial Department of Cultural and Fine Art):

“Sculptures work on Apsara, statues, and other materials. The most popular things are statues and sculptures of the Preah Narayan” 

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Touch (Business Owner):

“In the past, the design school had a group of specialized sculptors in the Pursat province. Later, the group taught others, and that is why it spread all over the province and also some family had run it as a family business.” 

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Touch (a Business Owner):

“I started this job more than 10 years ago; now my enterprise is involved in the processing of many other things, such as marble and lathe for home decoration.” 

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Sok Vichet (Sculptor):

“I have been working in this profession for more than 10 years, I learned how to make sculptures from a teacher named Mab who lives in the Pursat province.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Touch (Business Owner):

“We produce sculptures by following the instructions of the Ministry of culture and fine art; they gave instruction books to my enterprise. In those books, there were instructions on the scale model of making a statue. The ministry always invites us to workshops, as they explain the rules of sculpture and some new instructions about this handicraft.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Touch (Business Owner):

“Sculptures nowadays are a mixture of ancient and modern, and it changes over time, depending on the buyer; we can design according to their needs.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Sok Vichet (Sculptor):

 “I learned 90% of what I do thanks to the instructions of the customer or the photos they give me as a sample.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Lach Phengly (Director of Pursat Provincial Department of Cultural and Fine Art):

 “Today, there is a concern about the new processing that leads to making a change of what we try to do. Customers need what they want, but they forget about the identity of Pursat’s sculptures.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Lach Phengly (Director of Pursat Provincial Department of Cultural and Fine Art):

“We always organize workshops for artists to let them know the form of sculpture which is the only one and popular style in the Pursat province.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Touch (Business Owner):

“Currently, sculptors from Pursat province have migrated to Thailand through the advice of people they know. When they arrived in Thailand, they made a lot of money by sculpting using Khmer designs because Thailand recognizes Cambodian design. In Thailand, it has a good market.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Sok Vichet (Sculptor):

“When they have more options, they will decide to migrate, especially to Thailand. For me, I think I am content with what I make in Cambodia and with representing the values I believe in. I will not migrate abroad.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mr. Lach Phengly (Director of Pursat Provincial Department of Cultural and Fine Art):

 “I think that even if Thailand sells sculptures with Khmer designs in their country, the popularity of Cambodia will not disappear. In the future, we will keep the sculptural skills of Pursat province alive. And for the talented, not only Thailand but also France wantsKhmerr professionals in this field. But I believe that their heritage and brains are still Khmer.”

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