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Hand-Painted Signs of Kratie by Sam Roberts (BA 2001)

9 November 2012

Flying pigs, retro hairstyles and hand grenades are among some of the images found in this book celebrating the art and craft of Cambodia’s hand-painted advertising. The book introduces the signs, the people who paint them, and explores their links to Cambodian art, culture and history.

Flying pigs, retro hairstyles and hand grenades are among some of the images found in this book celebrating the art and craft of Cambodia’s hand-painted advertising. The book introduces the signs, the people who paint them, and explores their links to Cambodian art, culture and history.

The stories of the signs and their makers are inseparable from events in Cambodia over the last 40 years, notably the impact of the infamous Khmer Rouge regime. This crushed both art and commerce, the two spheres of activity straddled by these hand-painted signs. Their rise and gradual fall since this time takes the reader up to the current day and the uncertain future faced by this characteristic feature of Cambodia’s streets.

In considering the signs, the sign painters speak and share their thoughts, while others provide insights from the perspective of outsiders living and working in Cambodia. These include the author’s reflections on his own engagement with the signs, and the stories they tell. This book is his tribute to this charming piece of Cambodian culture that has endured a turbulent past and faces similarly rough waters ahead. The signs featured in this book are given full English translations in a comprehensive notes section and an eBook is also available.

To find where you can purchase copies of the book please visit the Sam Roberts' website. The book is available to buy from the website, alongside a host of other bonus material including videos, additional photographs, and useful links.