Slow Living
Tamara Venn

Slow Living

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Part of the "A Land in Flux" Collection - 2023

Limited edition of 150 prints, signed and numbered: 67cm x 67cm.

Printed on HP Matte Litho Paper, 180gsm

Sold unframed. 

This piece doesn’t link to a specific organization like the other paintings in this collection, but rather to a way of life. The slow food concept has lead to a lifestyle – where people choose local, small scale, sustainable options over international, corporate, unsustainable unviable options. Its about slowing down, supporting your neighbours and enjoying life in a simpler way.

The world is hurtling towards a future that may not be able to sustain human life. But if we can all stop for a minute and make small changes, in what we eat, what we buy, how we treat each other and the natural world there is hope. Slow Living captures a moment in time - here it happens to be in Kampot but it can be anywhere in the world - which I believe is the way forward. Where you ride a bicycle, not an oversized 4x4. Where your food is wrapped in a banana leaf, not polystyrene. Your snack is a natural, healthy lotus pod, not chemically infused fast food imported from somewhere far away. Where people have time to stop and talk to each other, not be constantly rushing from one place to the next or glued to their phone.

We are brought up to believe that happiness and success is based essentially but not entirely upon making money. To fill a big house with tat. To distract ourselves with shiny, new inanimate objects. We aren’t taught happiness and success is really about finding your purpose, connecting with a community, creating beauty and respecting the natural world.

I hope this piece resonates with those who feel the same way and see hope for a future where we can be happy. I’m figuring it out slowly.

A Land in Flux: 

"This collection of paintings was created within a span of a year, since the end of my first show, Kaleidoscope, in 2022. This new exhibition is called A Land in Flux since these paintings were conceived, planned, and painted during a time of change in Cambodia.

I wanted to capture the beauty as well as the peril of the collision of nature and humans and the subsequent threat to Cambodia’s ecosystems. I also wanted to document the work of conservation groups that I was fortunate enough to witness. My visits in early 2023 to the island of Koh Ach Seh in Kep Province and later to the Phnom Tnout Phnom Pok Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear Province provided me with the inspiration to paint Come Full Circle and The Protectors.

Animals are almost always the focus of my work and I try to portray them accurately and with attention to detail. I also give space to the imagined by setting the wildlife subjects in lush, often-fantastical botanical settings with flora becoming almost abstract. It is a tricky proposition to balance the real and the romantic. Moreover, colour is at the centre of each of my paintings. I compose them so that colour is as important as the subject matter. I draw much inspiration from artists who are masters in these aspects, such as Henri Rosseau, David Hockney and Helen Frankenthaler.

Finally, I also tried to capture the everyday interactions of humans and animals in Cambodian towns and cities. These scenes may soon be quaint remnants of a bygone era. I can foresee a more developed, faster-paced society leaving no room for these kinds of interactions in the future. I tried to preserve this in the paintings Best Friends and Slow Living.

Cambodia in 2023—these paintings are my way of preserving on canvas a particular place and time. These are visual documents, in a way, of fleeting places and ways of life. While change may be a constant, I believe that we must reflect on how we can—and must—preserve the riches of our natural heritage before we are left with only painted representations and memories".

Tamara Venn is best known for her large scale botanical murals and her contrasting miniature pen and ink illustrations of flora. Originally from London, UK and having studied painting at Central St Martin’s College of Art & Design her work can be seen dotted around Cambodia and the UK. Nature, its brilliance and its fragility in such an increasingly developing world is the subject that runs throughout her work. Each piece celebrates the beauty of the natural world – her mission statement , ‘if we take care of nature now we won’t only be left with painted reminders of what was once here before’.