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Khmer Impressions Les Impressions Khmères Sacred Lotus Ink Paintings

A talented artist, MORRISON POLKINGHORNE, will be taking over the Gallery at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra from February to April 2020 to showcase his unique art technique by the adaptation of pointillism classical art form.

Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra
January 31, 2020
Khmer Impressions Les Impressions Khmères Sacred Lotus Ink Paintings

Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra will be launching a new exhibition entitled as “Khmer Impressions/Les Impressions Khmères” by an Australian artist, Morrison POLKINGHORNE, who is based in Battambang, Cambodia, to be showcased for three months in the hotel’s Gallery. Artist Morrison POLKINGHORNE unveils his grey- and black-toned paintings made from lotus stems and artisanal petal ink. The exhibitionruns from February through April (2020) at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra.

Monochrome ink wash paintings, classically from China and Japan, are amongst the world’s oldest artistic traditions. In his contemporary take, Morrison adapts pointillism to this classic art form: First by using lotus stems as his brush, and secondly by creating an organic ink from its flower petals that is both holistic and spiritual in nature

Lotus is the ideal imagery for devout Cambodia, as the lotus flower symbolizes Buddha’s spiritual awakening, emerging from the muddy dark depths into light, and finally transmuting into a flash of beauty.

“I envision my pieces ecologically and holistically, with the kingdom’s nature and environment as the inspiration,” explains the artist.  “Lotus stems are my paintbrush, while its flowers create my tones.” Just as with traditional Chinese and Japanese ink wash paintings, emphasis is on the refinement of every stroke’s varying depths of tone. Each row complements the last, expressing simple beauty and elegance in the final compositions.  The resultant works evoke myriad Cambodian images: its waterways and deltas, “the kingdoms’ true lifeblood”; Angkorian pillars; to classical landscapes of misty mountains and tumbling waters”

Morrison Polkinghorne

Equally noteworthy is numerology. The artist signs each work with the final number of lotus impressions. For this exhibition, Polkinghorne has totaled 132,383 points or impressions. “As a weaver there is something both sacred and comforting to counting: from totaling shuttles going from side to side on a loom, to tallying warps and wefts. So it’s natural and automatic to mentally count lotus points impressed onto these works. Artist’s impressions — both literally and figuratively — of Cambodia.”

Uniquely for this Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra exhibition, the artist has designed metal frames forged by blacksmith Sot Ratana, mounted on grey acid-free board. “These convey a juxtaposition of Cambodia’s timeless past with its 21st Century industrial future.”


Battambang-based Australian artist Morrison Polkinghorne unveils his grey- and black-toned paintings made from lotus stems and artisanal petal ink. The exhibition, entitled Khmer Impressions/Les Impressions Khmères, runs from February through April (2020) at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra’s Hotel Gallery.

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