statement

“When I arrived in Phnom Penh ten years ago, I was immediately struck by the number of hand-painted signs promoting all sorts of things: the cinema, dentists, billiard halls, motorcycle washes and above all hairdressers. The latter gave by far the best chance of capturing a series of images – hairdresser signs seemed to be everywhere. This itself said something about Phnom Penh and the aspiration of its population to look smart, fashionable, at whatever level they could afford. It was clear to me that within a short time these hand-painted street signs would largely disappear. Sadly, that is the case; most have been replaced by digital photographs now printable on almost any surface.” – Jim Tulloch

This very unique collection has been printed on canvas in celebration of and to preserve the fun, the charm and quirkiness of DIY. All works for sale.

On the opening night we will indulge our nostalgic tendencies with live music of the Cambodian 60s and ask those attending to put on their own “Phnom Penh look” – beehives encouraged!

The series of images has been donated to Friends International, whose design team has created all new fashionable objects, t-shirts, bags and more, sporting “the Phnom Penh look.” Inside the exhibition, Friends will run a shop offering their new line.

All profits from canvas and product sales are donated to Friends International.

www.friends-international.org

PERSONAL STATEMENT:

“In my frequent visits to art galleries I have always been attracted by series. Apart from the interest of the individual pieces, I have wondered at the discipline needed to create or capture a lot of them. I have always been fascinated too by hand-painted signage and publicity in countries where the advertising industry hasn’t yet imposed its slick images everywhere we look. Often self-trained, the sign-writers, with variable degrees of talent do their very best to seduce customers with their images. The results range from real works of art to clumsy, sometimes unintentionally humorous, caricatures of the images being sought.

When I arrived in Phnom Penh ten years ago, I was immediately struck by the number of hand-painted signs promoting all sorts of things: the cinema, dentists, billiard halls, motorcycle washes and above all hairdressers. The latter gave by far the best chance of capturing a series of images – hairdresser signs seemed to be everywhere. This itself said something about Phnom Penh and the aspiration of its population to look smart, fashionable, at whatever level they could afford. It was clear to me that within a short time these hand-painted street signs would largely disappear. Sadly, that is the case; most have been replaced by digital photographs now printable on almost any surface.

As I started to take the photos in my limited spare time I gave the folder where I stored the images the name “The Phnom Penh Look”. It seemed appropriate not only for its fashion connection but also as a reference to a face of Phnom Penh present at the turn of the millennium that would certainly disappear as the boom in Phnom Penh progressed.”

Jim Tulloch has travelled widely outside of his home country, Australia, for most of the last 40 years, working on public health in developing countries, including periods living in Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Colombia, where he is now based. From 2002 to 2005 he lived in Cambodia where he worked with the World Health Organization. In his (limited) spare time he likes to photograph ordinary life around him, "just for the record."

about the artist

Tulloch Jim