Venue: Meta House
Address: #37, St Sothearos, Sangkat Tonle Basak, Khan Chamkamon Phnom Penh [view map]
Open : 12pm onwards
BTS : Ari
MRT : Bang Sue
Website :
Telephone: 010 312 333

In January 2007, German filmmaker Nico Mesterharm and his Cambodian team opened Phnom Penh's META HOUSE in association with the International Academy at the Free University of Berlin. Located in the heart of the city, Cambodia's first art/communication/media center is just a few minutes away from the riverside and Royal Palace.

Boasting more than 100 sq. metres of art exhibition space and an open-air media lounge on the rooftop overlooking Phnom Penh, the three storey gallery offers an excellent space for artists-in-residence and visiting artists to interact. META HOUSE actively supports Cambodian artists and promotes the development of contemporary art in Cambodia through local and international exhibitions, workshops, community-based projects, artist exchange programs and by fostering links with South East Asian and international universities, galleries, curators, non-governmental and governmental organizations.

META HOUSE has not only established itself as a meeting place for artists and art lovers, but also as an intercultural and interdisciplinary networking platform for Cambodian-based artists, Cambodian artists living overseas and their international colleagues.

We firmly believe that contemporary art is a marker of development. The growth of expressive art forms is crucial to the development of any society, none more so than Cambodia where individuals are desperate for a voice. META HOUSE fosters an environment of self-expression and "critical thinking" and promotes art awareness and criticism.

The traditional visual arts in Cambodia reveal the essential conservatism of the Khmer. Ancient themes were preferred and there was rarely an effort to improve or adapt. The principal crafts were weaving, silver and gold works, jewelry, and wood and stone carvings. "Only after independence in 1953, and the arrival of foreign teachers in the capital, were young art students introduced to the Post-Impressionist styles of Gauguin and Picasso, and to a range of new media from gouache to crayon and oil", writes journalist Robert Turnbull. "Sadly, the subsequent wars put an end to all that: 90 percent of artists either left Cambodia or died during the civil wars of the 1970s. It will doubtless take years to revive that level of activity."

In recent years, however, the tireless efforts of Cambodian artists, both in Cambodia and abroad, have brought about a resurgence of both classical and contemporary Khmer art. The arts play a particularly important role in helping Cambodians reclaim their heritage, heal their souls and engage in the emerging renaissance.

Creative people from around the globe are invited to contribute to the development of the young Cambodian contemporary art scene and help META HOUSE put Cambodia back on the artistic map.

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