How I failed to make the connection between Siem Reap’s One Eleven Gallery and the 111 Mina Gallery in San Francisco bewilders me, especially since I have spent many delightful nights over the last two decades in the San Francisco gallery. I tried to shrug it off while denying that I am just not as sharp as I used to be.
San Franciso’s 111 Mina Gallery is heralded as the first space to put art, drinking, and music together in the city over 25 years ago, and Siem Reap’s One Eleven follows suit.
One Eleven Gallery calls itself the only international contemporary art gallery in Siem Reap – and was co-founded by the same individual who established the 25-year-old 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco.
At the helm is Danny Melham, Robina Hanley, and Jessica Lim, who is also the newly-appointed director of the annual Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops, Southeast Asia’s longest-running international photography event. Robina Hanley moved to Siem Reap over 13 years ago and founded Siem Reap Art Tours, an art-intensive experience for visitors to the city.
I confess that I have only been to the gallery once since arriving 3 months ago and since none of the co-founders seemed to be present at the time, I have no personal relationship built and can only introduce readers to the gallery itself.
It is bright, bold and stocked with bubbling images that returned my memory to the glory days of the pop and contemporary art scene of the 60s and 70s in my younger years. Yet, the artists represented in the gallery are very much alive and possess strong voices in today’s international art scene.
Those that cannot afford the art still come, hailing the space as the ‘groovy’, ‘funky’ and ‘popping’ hangout to enjoy fantastic drinks and conversation. The gallery welcomes all with a plethora of excellent musical, film and community events – while keeping a keen eye on international art collectors and the curation demanded of a higher-end market.
And they do it all quite well. Their website alone is impressive and one of the few Cambodian sites to curate its exhibits carefully. They are huge supporters of Julien Poulson’s art and the Cambodian Space Project, the band renowned for rejuvenating the Cambodian rock ’n’ roll sound of the 1960s destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. The band and all of Cambodia is still reeling from the loss of its beloved 38-year-old lead singer Kak Channthy who was killed in a tuk-tuk accident in 2018.
One Eleven features the art of Christian Develtor from Belgium; Julien Poulson from Australia; Khun Gechson from Cambodia; Grand Dame from the US; Antel Gabelics from Hungary; and Nou Sary from Cambodia. They have produced 10 major exhibitions since re-opening in 2017.
One Eleven Gallery creates a jubilant and much-needed cacophony of sounds and images in Cambodia.