Cambodian artist Lim Muy Theam exhibition in Siem Reap

Lim Muy Theam is a Cambodian artist whose trademark lacquer pieces capture moments in time in the lives of ordinary Cambodians, from farmers herding cattle to monks collecting alms. Theam’s work captures the beauty and mundanity of daily life in Cambodia.

Boy at Trapeang Thmor by Lim Muy Theam

Boy at Trapeang Thmor by Lim Muy Theam.

Theam was born in Takeo province, where he lived until the Khmer Rouge fell and Vietnam invaded in late 1978. his family fled and by 1980 had arrived as refugees in France, where Theam trained as an artist. He studied interior design at the Ecole Boulle and painting at the Fine Art School in Paris. After graduating, he returned to his native Cambodia where he continued his art and now works to promote Cambodian traditional arts and crafts to the younger generation.

Theam draws inspiration from Cambodia’s ancient pagodas and their religious murals. Using polychrome and lacquerware techniques, Theam’s unique style replaces canvas with wood. His designs are painted on and then sanded and lacquered, using successive layers of paint to create a rich thickness that is enhanced by the scratches that reveal the layers and colors beneath. Each piece is comprised of layer upon layer of paint and endless additions and subtractions of color and texture, resulting in a complex richness that highlight his bold scenes of everyday life.

Monk procession by Lim Muy Theam

Monk procession by Lim Muy Theam.

His work touches on not only the lives of everyday Cambodians, but hint at Cambodia’s dark history, with references to the horrors of the Pol Pot era. His recent work focuses on the “blurred ambiguity between ‘common’ people and those considered sacred, expresses his perception of a reality where peculiarity and beauty combine seamlessly.”

The McDermott Gallery in Siem Reap will be hosting an exhibition of Lim Muy Theam’s work, ‘Situations,’ from December 14, 2013 until February 28, 2014. The opening reception will be on Saturday, December 14th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (That’s tomorrow!)

You can also see more of Theam’s work on his website,

McDermott Gallery
The Passage (Between the Old Market and Pub Street), Siem Reap
T: 092 219 647

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.