So for the regular reader, there have been numerous mentions of PANCART and the pancARTHOUSE, but as I’m spending more time in Siem Reap, I feel like I need to explain in a little more detail what the following equation really means:
Pancakes + Art = PANCART
On a simplistic (yet incredibly tasty) level, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Pancakes are easy to make, require few ingredients and go well with donated jams, syrups, fruits or savouries like cheese or olives. Art is fun to do, and if it’s abstract then it doesn’t matter if you can’t draw like your art teacher wanted you to when you were at school.
Art is subjective. It can mean watercolours of a bowl of fruit, making rangoli patterns with chalk-coloured salt:
or throwing paint balloons at a giant canvas: It could be a bunch of people hanging out with a drink and discussing whether there is life on another planet. It can incorporate movies and music, culture and food, really, when you think about it, art can be whatever you want it to be. And it should be inclusive. Which is where PANCART really comes into its own, because everyone is welcome. Sure, there are a group of familiar faces that pop up for most events, but for example, PANCART is in the process of helping a new local NGO school with their art curriculum, including visiting the kids at their school, getting to know them and even passing on some English skills in the process. In my limited experience of being Teacher Deena, I have found that the best way to teach kids anything is when the learner doesn’t realise that they’re learning. On the flipside, if you’re teaching adults, they want to see clear progress, so often will prefer to work through a programme of study, with assessments along the way to check their improvement.
PANCART is more a mode of thinking, a way of living, a collaborative method in the madness and also a home away from home. I have made friends as a direct result of attending PANCART events and if I didn’t have these people around me, I’d have left Siem Reap a long time ago, of that I’m sure. I’ve travelled to other parts of Cambodia with friends I’ve made through PANCART, and taken brilliant pictures like this Om in Kampot: And although the pancARTHOUSE is pretty much out in the countryside, and currently has a cat that loves to play havoc with my allergies, it’s a happy environment, a free space to cook and collaborate, an open area to voice opinions without feeling ridiculous and a peaceful place to chill out whether you have a pencil or a paintbrush or potato peeler in your hand. And I think the founder needs a pat on the back and a massive thanks for making this British girl and her Minion welcome in town and generally being awesome.
So, in conclusion, if you want to know more about the PANCART founder, where his idea came from and how it is more financially viable in SE Asia than in Europe, check out this page from my blog and this article on the interwebs. I also have a blog post describing the morning I spent with the PANCART crew making my own piece of jewellery from bullet materials which you should definitely take a look at if you haven’t already. Finally, for anyone who is interested, this page lists every single one of my blog posts in chronological order.