Some of the capital’s most passionate photographers are about to mark a significant milestone.

The Phnom Penh Photography Collective, a diverse group of photography enthusiasts from around the world, is thrilled to announce its first anniversary, and will celebrate it with a group art and photography exhibition. 

Dubbed the Samaki Exhibition, the event promises to be a confluence of art, history and community spirit. It will open on February 24 at the Hiroshima House Art Gallery, on the grounds of Wat Ounalom pagoda in the capital’s Daun Penh district, where it will run for a full month.

The Hiroshima House project was originally founded with donations from the people of Hiroshima – a Japanese city largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during World War II – to share the history of their city with the Cambodian people. Today, Hiroshima House is home to around 65 children, many of whom previously lived on the streets, providing them with a nurturing environment.

The “samaki in Cambodia” theme was carefully chosen for its deep meaning. “Samaki” translates to unity, solidarity, bonds, and community in Khmer. 

It is not just a celebration of the collective’s first year, but will support the important work of Hiroshima House, with 70 per cent of the art sales going directly to the education of the children living there. Additional support is being provided by Samai Rum Distillery and Humans of Cambodia. 

Shunsuke Miyatake, founder of the photography collective, expressed his excitement about the exhibition, explaining that it will explore the myriad forms of samaki that permeate life in Cambodia, from familial ties and friendships to the bonds between people, nature and animals.

“It’s an honour to welcome our first anniversary with the ‘Samaki Exhibition’, in collaboration with Hiroshima House. This venue provides the perfect backdrop for our photographers and artists to showcase their interpretations of samaki in Cambodia,” he says.

An example of some of the aerial photography on display at the Samaki Exhibition. KeangHuy Bo

“Our aim is to highlight the stories of unity and community through our art, and support the educational endeavours of Hiroshima House,” he adds.

The exhibition will feature the works of over 50 photographers and 10 artists, both from Cambodia and abroad, including notable names like Adana Mam-Legros, RYYSA, Peap Tarr, Lisa Mam, NOWHERE Art Studio and BKK Studio Sauce. 

Attendees on opening night can look forward to an immersive experience of art, photography and music, with performances by The Broken Cymbal and DJ sets. 

“After learning about the history and the relationship between Hiroshima and Cambodia, and their goal, we came up with the theme samaki in Khmer,” says Miyatake. 

He explains that for the exhibition, they request that each photographer and artist reflect on what “samaki in Cambodia” means to them, and then interpret it in their own unique way.

Since its inception in February 2023, the Phnom Penh Photography Collective has seen remarkable growth, attracting over 1300 followers on Instagram, reaching more than 700 on their Facebook Page, and gathering a 150+ strong community on Telegram. 

The collective organises monthly themed photo walks, showcasing a variety of viewpoints. They welcome creatives of all types, aiming to serve as a broader hub, known as the “Phnom Penh Creative Collective”.