Theam’s House Siem Reap
Theam's House, residence-slash-atelier, is only a short walk from the majestic temples of Angkor Wat. At Theam's House, visitors can explore the enchanting tropical garden, observe artists in their creative process and enjoy a beautiful showcase of artistic creations.
An artist's journey to restore the traditional culture
Lim Muy Theam, the name behind Theam's House, was born in Southern Cambodia in 1971. After studying at the Fine Art School and Ecole Boulle in Paris, he returned to his home country. Since 1999, he has been working as a designer for Artisans Angkor, an organization dedicated to the revitalization of Cambodian craftsmanship.
Theam's desire to preserve the country's artistic heritage led him to visit historical areas across the country and hear the people's stories. He is on a mission to revive the art sector, with a mix of traditional and contemporary art styles. Theam uses his technical knowledge to train artisan apprentices at Theam's House.
According to Phloeun Prim, director of Cambodia Living Arts, the decision by Lim Muy Theam to turn his house and living environment into a public site and also use it as a workshop reflects an ongoing effort in encouraging visual arts culture in Cambodia. Set in a tranquil environment, Theam's House Siem Reap is well executed and with a wide variety on offer that is perfect for leisure activity.
Theam’s House is a work of art in itself, with beautiful architecture and a mixture of warm colors
Live creative workshops
Take a look inside the wooden workshop-house, where apprentices make artworks on site. At Theam's House, artisans create products that are suited for modern-day living situations while paying respect to the Khmer's aesthetic authenticity. Immerse yourself in the culture of Khmer and you might be able to talk to the devoted artists in action and get to know their insights.
A sculpting artist in the workshop at Theam’s House / Source: Theam’s House website
It is the ideal place to get souvenirs from Cambodia, with a variety of choices ranging from paintings, sculpture to lacquerware and gold-leaf gilding. While gifts to bring home are available at many tourist destinations and night markets, it is always a wise decision to buy from Theam's House and support Theam and his team's effort in preserving the traditional arts. At Theam's House, products are authentic and well-made by local artisans. International shipping arrangements can be made for larger pieces.
The lacquered elephant is the most popular souvenir choice among visitors. / Source: Theam’s Gallery Twitter
Exquisite, enchanting atelier
The main token of Theam's House is the alluring, nicely-lit art space with a diverse collection of Lim Muy Theam's creations on display. Each room contains paintings, sculptures and works with other mediums created during Theam's time at Artisans D' Angkor as well as individual projects. Theam's works tell a modern story, a visual representation of his perceptions of history, society and the world, representing Cambodia's religious murals and everyday life. Some of the works are influenced by the sense of displacement Theam experienced upon returning to Cambodia from France. He used expressive layers of paint and numerous additions of colour and texture — be it acrylic paint or sandpaper — to achieve the desired level of colour composition. Unique lacquered polychrome art is a must-see for those interested in the arts and strong authentic identity.
The atelier is well-decorated and guaranteed a pleasure to the eye of visitors / Source: Theam’s Gallery website
Lim Muy Theam's sister, Lim Maddy, who is in charge of administrative affairs, said: “The principle aim of Theam’s House is to invite people to discover Khmer art and to pass on Theam’s skills to younger artists. There are paintings for sale in the gallery but it doesn’t matter as much to us if people buy or not.”
Theam's House occasionally hosts events at the cultural space, ranging from cocktail nights to performance shows. Guests can enjoy a high-quality dinner in the beautiful tropical garden, complemented by a green setting and elegant decorations.
The outside space is worth the visit / Source: triphobo.com
Getting to Theam's House
BestPrice Travel recommends a visit to Theam's House for some quiet time after admiring Angkor Wat. Theam's House can be quite tricky to find for the locals and tuk-tuk drivers, so directly contact the site for a thorough direction guide.
Theam's House welcomes visitors every day from 8 AM to 5 PM. The entrance fee is $5 for foreigners and free for children under 12 years old. There is also a cafe for guests who are looking for a refresher drink in the peaceful oasis before sunset.