In Pursat, artist Prum Vannak is hard at work on an autobiographical tale of his life away from home, trapped as illegal labor on a fishing ship. Labor trafficking is a huge concern for Cambodia, and we’re hoping his tale gets attention inside Cambodia as well as out to the world at large.
Vannak’s artwork will also feature in a presentation at TechCamp Phnom Penh, happening later this month. Stay tuned for more from this prolific artist.
Artist profile page: http://siewphewyeung.org.kh/artists/prum-vannak/
Artist Prum Vannak has been a unique supporter of the anti-trafficking movement. As a web exclusive for Our Books, he shares a few scenes from his eventful life in the last year.
After escaping from labor trafficking, Vannak’s friends in his rural Pursat village didn’t believe him. So he drew about it, laboriously detailing his time trapped on a fishing boat.
“A lot of migrants are trafficked to work on fishing ships in the gulf of Thailand and Malaysia. They work day and night, with no time to rest.”
It didn’t go unnoticed. His expressive and heartfelt drawings took him to meetings, workshops and eventually recognition from the US State Department.
Workshop at Immigration Department in Taiwan, 2012.
Meeting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Publishers have taken interest in collecting the artist’s works as a graphic novel, and we’ll share more news as plans progress. When he’s not busy fighting the good fight, Vannak is looking to branch out into commercial illustration.
You can read more about Prom Vannak on his artist profile page.
Press Release: Our Books is pleased to announce the ‘soft launch’ of our permanent exhibition space at ‘Rik Reay‘ Restaurant, Street 178, 69c.
Our first exhibition features art from ’24 Hour Comics Day 2012′ by Sao Sreymao, Veejay Joson, Peou Ty, Seng Visal, Kim Phally (Our Books Graphic Designer), Sin Yang Pirom, and Chan Pisey. (Running from February 28th to March 12.)
By exhibiting at a local Khmer restaurant, we aim to engage people with comics outside of a gallery context, as a part of their daily life.
Future exhibitions will feature a diverse selection of art, from NGO outreach projects to new creative efforts from local artists.
Rik Reay restaurant is open from 6am to 12 noon. For further exhibition inquiries, please get in touch with Our Books.
(Photo credit: Vannak Eng)
- plus a plethora of related links.
For more about the meetup, click below for the full report.
Patrick Samnang Mey is releasing the first volume of his graphic novel series Eugénie in English, with a launch taking place at ‘The Empire’ this coming Friday. (34, street 130 Phnom Penh, Cambodia).
Book launch and opening exhibition!
- Originally published in French in 3 volumes, EUGÉNIE will be released in a single opus for its ENGLISH VERSION!
– Drawings + paintings will be exhibited!
– Signed copies of the book available on the night!
- Free food buffet!
– Kir/Kir royale $2.50!
EUGÉNIE by P.S.M
240 pages in Black and white, Watercolour and Indian Ink
Venue information here: http://www.the-empire.org/
Event Facebook Page:
Whew! This year Our Books facilitated participation in ‘Global 24 Hour Comics Drawing Day’, held at Romeet Gallery from 8am to 5pm, October 20th. It was the 5th time our team has assisted in a ’24 hour’ drawing day project.
Those not living in Cambodia may not be aware that King-Father Norodom Sihanouk passed away a few days previously. Most parties and celebratory events have been canceled during this national period of mourning.
After some deliberation we decided to opt for a quiet, eight hour drawing day based on our ‘Cambodian Variation’ from prior years: one artist / one hour / one page. Finding time to draw for Khmer artists is a challenge, and this option allows them to squeeze a few hours of drawing into a busy schedule of work/school/family life.
Our Books Graphic Designer Kim Phally was on hand to scan and web up art, while Assistant Project Manager Nhim Soknea assisted with logistics. Sao Sreymao served as our ‘artist guide’ for visitors new to the event. Many thanks to Romeet (in particular Curator Kate O’Hara) for making their space available!
Above: untitled comic by Seng Visal
It was an enjoyable day, catching up with old and new friends: classic 1980s artist Sin Yang Pirom, freelancer Sen Samondara, acclaimed young artists Chan Pisey, Seng Visal and Peou Ty, teacher VJ Joson, graphic novelist Patrick Samnang Mey, and many more!
As always, it was great to see the global comics community gearing up for a full day of comics, and be a small part of this. Below are some samples of the comics produced – more to come from the participants in following days! Much of the artwork initially went up on the event’s Facebook page.
(For the curious, our Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/comicslifestyle/sets/72157631817052415/ )
(Mak Mak – Chan Pisey)
(The Bibliophile – VJ Joson)
All content copyright © Our Books or © artists cited unless otherwise noted.
Surprise visit from Tomoko Okada of the Tokyo University for Foreign Studies!
Dr. Okada is a tireless teacher and an enthusiast for Khmer culture in Japan.
We caught up on comics drawn by Japanese artists (mangaka) in Cambodia, comics drawn about Cambodia, and issues pertaining to the indigenization of manga.
We were also honored this Monday to spend nearly two hours recording an interview with prolific artist Hul Sophon.
As one of the two last (known) surviving comics artists from the pre-revolutionary era, he had lots to share about literature both past and present.
While his covers are omnipresent at Cambodian bookshops, his relatively small number of comics were less lucky.
You can see his most recent work on novel covers, and childrens’ story books at Banteay Srei bookshop in Phnom Penh.
Joining us for the last few weeks have been Katherine Brickell and Jason Dittmer, researchers based in the UK. They have been interviewing Our Books’ roster of artists for some academic articles on Cambodian comics.
Prior to departure, Katherine and Jason submitted what they assumed would be an editorial to the Phnom Penh Post. They were very surprised to see it appropriated as a feature article, belaboring very obvious points about the comics market and citing them as sources, not authors.
Managing Editor John Weeks presented today at the ‘Pecha Kucha‘ themed ‘Nerd Night‘, briefly reviewing the three eras of Cambodian comics history and the intriguing local/international artists that made it all happen. The talk’s slides can be viewed via ‘Slideshare’ (English or Khmer), and the talk via YouTube (both above). (Thanks to Kim Phally and Heng Huy Eng for technical assistance!) Below: Press release. Nerd Night Phnom Penh
Dina Sadek, on the Egyptian Revolution; Nettra Pan, on the Importance of Authenticity; Bernadette Valdellon, on A Cappella; Gillian Rhodes, on Choreography; and John Weeks, on Cambodian Comics (50 years in 20 slides!)
(Here are a few tidbits from our talk last year. http://www.delicious.com/slugdog/nerdnightPP)