The Story

...a new creative journey

Born in Takeo, Southern Cambodia, Theam was nine when the Khmer Rouge regime fell and Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978. Amidst the widespread famine and the trauma caused by the genocide, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians fled the country. Theam was among the refugees who arrived in France in 1980.

After receiving a sound artistic and technical education in interior design at the Ecole Boulle and in Painting at the Fine Art School both in Paris, Theam set aside his dreams and journeyed to a place he once fled from 15 years ago to be reunited with those he had left behind and to take part in the rebuilding of a country ravaged by decades of war.

Theam’s desire to share his artistic and technical knowledge prompted him to set out on a mission to learn about Cambodia, Khmer art and culture in order to research the country’s rich artistic heritage. He trawled through temples and pagodas around the country, visited people’s homes, and studied whatever artwork and artefacts he could lay his hands on. The Khmer Rouge regime had tried to wipe out any reminder of Cambodia’s past – its artisans, cultural artefacts, statues and books.

Now his expertise is on hand to give visitors an insight into a distinctive world of art, as well as instruction into creating their own creative pieces – be it painting, sculpting, or lacquer ware.

For more than 15 years helping revive the Cambodian craft sector, he now has launched a new art project that includes training a team of protégé artisans’ apprentices while he embarks on a new creative journey of his own painting.