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Phnom Penh : The SOSORO Museum to enrich collection with a prestigious donation of Nhek Dim’s painting

The Preah Srey Içanavarman Museum of Economy and Money (SOSORO) is honored to announce the handover of a significant piece of Cambodian art history.

This event, which took place on March 25 at the museum’s location in Phnom Penh, marked the official donation of a rare 1960’s landscape painting by celebrated Cambodian artist Nhek Dim, graciously bestowed upon the museum by the family of former Australian diplomat Robert Merrillees.

This painting, acquired in the late 1960s by Robert Merrillees and his wife Helen during his tenure in Cambodia, showcases a rural Cambodian scene through a modernist lens, reflecting the unique artistic vision of Nhek Dim. After having graciously undertaken restoration efforts, the Merrillees family has decided to contribute this rare work to the SOSORO Museum, ensuring its preservation and accessibility for future generations. The painting will thereby be integrated in the SOSORO Museum’s collection.

The Co-director of the SOSORO Museum, Mr. Blaise Kilian, expressed deep appreciation for this precious gift, stating:

“We are grateful to the Merrillees family who has chosen to donate this unique painting to the SOSORO Museum. The work of Nhek Dim is a reflection of the vibrant cultural and artistic scene that flourished in the post-independence years, before being sadly annihilated by the war and during the Khmer Rouge regime. This donation is all the more meaningful as the museum has just inaugurated the revamped part of its permanent exhibition dedicated to the Independence, the Khmer Republic, and the Khmer Rouge regime, with enhanced descriptions of the socio-economic changes that occurred then.”

Mrs. Dolla S. Merrillees, daughter of Robert Merrillees and representing the family, in turn highlighted the cultural and historical significance of this donation: “We’re thrilled to return this painting by renowned Cambodian artist Nhek Dim to the Cambodian people. Acquired by my parents directly from the artist in the late 1960s, it’s been a cherished possession alongside portraits he painted of our family. Given that most of his works were destroyed by the Pol Pot regime, we hope this painting will be enjoyed by generations to come.“


About the SOSORO Museum

Established by the National Bank of Cambodia, the Preah Srey Içanavarman Museum of Economy and Money (commonly known as SOSORO) is dedicated to educating the public about the economic history and the evolution of money in Cambodia, through a blend of ancient artifacts and modern technologies, in a state-of-the-art museography.


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