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The Last Cinema Marquee Painter in Phnom Penh

May 10, 2010
Lim Keav

Lim Keav

I came across Lim Keav in an old article from the Cambodian Daily from 2002. Back then he was still painting giant marqueen for the cinemas of Phnom Penh on a regular basis. Since then, all of them, but one have been closed, and Cine Lux uses digital prints on their facade now.

However, when I looked him up in the Yellow Pages, his shop Kok Tep Art was still listed. I went to the adress, found the sign that you see in the background of the picture on the left, but no more shop. I called the two numbers, and got him on the phone.

When we met, I learned that he still paints, mostly pictures for foreigners who used to live in Phnom Penh who send him photographs, that they want drawn in oil, for which he charges around 20 dollars. He showed a photograph of an painting of Angkor that he had just finished.

He also showed me the left-overs of his old shop: Some old canvases behind the house on which tropical heat and rain have taken their toll, see below – a sad reminder of the cinema culture that Phnom Penh used to have.

If you want to see some of his works in their old glory, go here, and scroll down to the entry from April 16, 2002, ironically from the same year, when the Cambodian Daily article was written, the year, when Cambodian cinema started its last brief boom, before disappearing almost completely. Here is the picture of the cinema that he painted marqueens for, the Royal Sound cinema, according to Lim a theatre that was installed in an apartment on Monivong Boulevard.

Old marquees in Lim Keav's old shop

Lim Keav's old shop

Lim Keav's old shop

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