In May, a collective of talented artists chose to combine photography with charity to provide food to families impacted by COVID-19 in Phnom Penh. We recently spoke with Mr. Raphael Pech, CIS French Bilingual Teacher and founder of the Art4Food campaign, to learn more about how art can bring joy and relief to those in need.
Featured Image (above): Monks Procession and Independence Monument by Raphael Pech
CIS: What sparked your passion for photography?
Raphael Pech (RP): I was 12 years old when my mother offered me my first film camera. Since then I never stopped capturing what is meaningful to me.
CIS: What are some of your favorite scenes to photograph in Cambodia?
RP: I started to document Cambodian sceneries as a street photographer. I love to freeze Cambodian daily life and bring some light to the invisible people. For example, I started a series about the riverside little jobs. I set up a studio in a restaurant and asked street sellers to pose for me. Many teachers and staff members were present to help and support this initiative. I’m blessed to have such a supportive community around me.
CIS: Tell us about the Art4Food initiative.
RP: Art4Food started when I asked some photographers friends if they agreed to sell their pictures with me to support people in need at the beginning of the lockdown. Some of my neighbors were starving and had no daily income anymore.
All the benefits from the picture sales will be given to Local4Local initiative run by my friend Hao, who is also street photographer. We are now more than 80 artists and we have already raised more than $10,000 in three weeks.
CIS: What impact are you hoping to make?
RP: Showing that art can feed people in need and making art accessible to everyone for a very low price.
CIS: What advice would you give anyone going through a difficult time right now due to the pandemic?
RP: Art can help to support mental health well being. It helped me a lot at the beginning of the pandemic. Many initiatives are blooming all around Cambodia. Solidarity has never been so present in Cambodia than nowadays.
CIS: How can our readers support this cause?
RP: By making a donation to the Art4Food initiative, readers will be able to access amazing artwork by artists from around the world who have in common their generosity and love for Cambodia. Don’t miss this opportunity to help people in need while receiving some beautiful artwork framed and delivered to your doorstep.
To learn more about Art4Food and to make a donation, please visit https://www.art4food.org/
Mr. Raphael Pech
Raphael Pech is a French Bilingual Program Teacher at the Canadian International School of Phnom Penh. Outside of school he has a passion for capturing the hidden stories of lives lived in Phnom Penh with his camera.