Artistry of Makeup and the Flourishing Art Scene in Cambodia

In a glamorous gathering at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, the city’s high society celebrated the unveiling of ‘Ici ou Là’ by the esteemed photographer and makeup maestro, Damien Dufresne, showcasing not only his talent but also the vibrant art scene burgeoning in Cambodia.

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True to his dual expertise, Damien transformed the faces of Sofitel’s servers into living canvases, mirroring the vibrant imagery adorning the gallery walls, setting the stage for a dialogue on the intersection of beauty and artistic expression within the Cambodian context.

In this captivating collection, Damien adorns his models’ faces, bodies, and lips, granting them anonymity amid surreal poses, resulting in enigmatic portraits akin to fine art, echoing the rich cultural heritage and contemporary dynamism of Cambodian artistry.

Charles-Henri Chevet, the hotel’s General Manager, eloquently expressed the exhibition’s ethos, emphasizing the contemporary preoccupation with appearance and the profound statement embedded within ‘Ici ou Là’, meaning “here or there,” reflecting the nuanced narratives and societal reflections prevalent in Cambodian contemporary art.

A Milestone In Expression

This milestone 25th exhibition at the gallery stands out for its technical intricacy and meticulous preparation, reflecting Damien’s 42-year tenure as a makeup virtuoso and 12-year journey as a photographer, while also underscoring the growing recognition of Cambodian artists on the global stage.

As Damien remarked, his transition from makeup artist to photographer was a natural evolution, shaped by decades of passion for artistic expression, echoing the resilience and innovation driving Cambodia’s burgeoning art scene forward.

‘Ici ou Là’ enchants viewers until the end of May, inviting all to explore the intersection of photography, the transformative power of makeup, and the vibrant artistic landscape flourishing in Cambodia, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of creativity and cultural identity shaping the nation’s contemporary art scene.

Tom Starkey
Author: Tom Starkey

Tom Starkey is an International Development graduate from Sussex University with 12-years of experience across 4 continents, Tom's goal is that he wants to showcase his love for Cambodia, where he lives, works and now happily calls home.

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