IKTT (Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles), from SiemReap Cambodia
IKTT (Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles), from SiemReap Cambodia

Reserve Group for the Drawing Team

Reserve Group for the Drawing Team It becomes six years that the Siem Reap Drawing Team started since May 2002.

Speaking of six years, it is the same span of time from undergraduate to master's course of Japanese art university. Cambodia does not have art education at school yet. When the member girls of Drawing Team came to IKTT, they used watercolor paints or brushes for the first time.

But their skills have progressed that they can express their characters from copy painting.

I have kept all of their past drawing pictures, because they can look back their trail of works by themselves. Someone who looked their pictures told me that they want to buy the pictures, but I have rejected.

At first we could not buy paints and materials at Siem Reap, so I bought and brought them when I went to Japan or Thailand. Recently some visitors bring paints and materials as presents for us. We were so pleased when a Japanese art teacher brought us the used paints that were useless at Japanese school.

At first I gave my used brushes to them. They used to use my old brushes that were color brushes and fine-point brushes since I have used to dye handmade yu-zen. When I go to Japan, they sometime ask me to buy the same brushes because they were worn-out. As the proverb says "A bad workman complains of his tools", in fact good tools actually give good jobs. They became to know such things.

It is necessary to keep high concentration to paint pictures from 8 am to 5 pm as job. It seems they are happy they get salary by painting pictures, but it is actually hard work.

The purpose is to improve their beauty sense. The way to improve their power of observations and expressions is basically brought by copying. My purpose is to grow human resources who have high beauty sense and who think the tradition is not protected but created. And we used hand-made paper made by ourselves from mulberry trees.

Mary who is one of the leaders of the Drawing team has moved to live at "Project site of Wisdom from the Forest" (PWF) since this April. From there, a new drawing group was formed. The teacher is Mary. But almost of the classmates are ten to fourteen years girls going to school half of a day. The Drawing Team gathers only half of a day. So they are called the Reserve Group for the Drawing Team.

We opened the library that everyone can come and read and draw pictures as they likes at PWF since January of this year. I wanted to give such place to the children. About eight children who go to the library and like drawing pictures are promoted to the Reserve Group for the Drawing Team. But it is difficult to keep their concentration. They are told, "When you want to chat or play, you should go out of the library. And when you want to draw pictures, you can come back again".

Some of the members of drawing groups at Siem Reap have possibilities to become artists who lead Cambodian art in future. I think that the members of Drawing Team and the children of Reserve Group for the Drawing Team will someday be able to use such experiences in their life. Important thing is the power of observations and concentrations, and especially great beauty sense.

And it is wonderful that the really new tradition will be created from there.

Morimoto Kikuo
Translation by Mr.Takurou MATSUOKA

update : August 11, 2008 8:50 PM

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