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We visited a small Village called Roluos to see 4 rarely visited 9th Century Angkor era temples. While we were there we stumbled across the workshop of Dy Proeung, a famous Cambodian Artist with an amazing story.
Across from Preah Ko Temple in the Roluos Temple group (not at Angkor Wat Complex) is the forgotten workshop of an amazing Artisan Sculptor who created beautiful replica art of the ancient Angkor Temples and reliefs. It was sad but also seemed somewhat fitting that the replicas of the ruins were also now in ruins.
Story of Dy Proeung Cambodian Artist
Dy Proeung (Khmer: ឌី ព្រឿង) was born in Phnom Penh in the 1930s. He attended the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, graduating in 1960. During the 60s he lived in Siem Reap and worked for the Conservation d’Ankor, the French School of the Far East, and created detailed drawings of historic sites.
In 1975 when the Regime of the genocidal Khmer Rouge came into power one of the many targeted groups for execution was intellectuals. Dy Proeung feared he would be executed and buried all of his drawings, books, and journals in a hole behind a farmhouse. He was then forced to work as a laborer on a state-owned farm where he feared daily he would be executed.
After the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 he recovered his drawings and journals and began creating miniatures of the ancient sites he had recorded. He then gained the notice of King Sihanouk of Cambodia. King Sihanouk requested that Dy Proeung begin classes and offer apprenticeships so his knowledge would pass on to the next generation. He shared his knowledge with many young people. Today you can see his art in many public places as well as at his Museum located in Siem Reap Cambodia.
You can view Dy Proeung’s art at the Miniature Replicas of Angkor’s Temples Museum located at 9V77+F92, Krong Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
I was quite moved by the experience. We will be visiting his Museum in Siem Reap later this week and I will write about the experience.
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