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The Ultimate Tropical XMas Tree

Weaving rattan fibers,Cambodian artist and recycling master Riem Mony Selong creates a stunning, dreamlike Christmas tree near Angkor Wat. Here is the tree that saves the forest, not hides it...

"I've never seen actual snow, but here are snowballs from the Cambodian forest", says Selong with a facetious smile after completing the installation of this tropical tribute to the spirit of Christmas in the lobby of Memoire Palace Resort & Spa, Siem Reap. Sixty-nine of them, gracefully piled up to form a stylised tree, both majestic and ethereal.

During 29 days, Selong and his five helpers-friends have collected long stems of rattan in the wild of the Varin forest, south of Siem Reap province, then weaved them into balls of various sizes before assembling them to freely suggest the conical shape of the traditional fir pine tree.

Last commission by the departing General Manager, Nguon Chai, this seasonal art installation is part of a set of exhibitions focusing on recycling creativity the Anicca Foundation has helped to organize at the resort, well-known for its committment to reduce plastic waste. Selong's liana Xmas tree bring the forest to the sophisticated setting of Memoire Palace's reception area, without cutting down any tree...

Also known as Selong Vat, Riem Mony Selong (1987, Siem Reap Province) is a self-taught visual artist who's been working with recycled materials, from plastic straws to old tyres, since that day in his family village when he suddenly came to the realization of the harm burning plastic waste was doing to people's health and the environment. At a young age, he liked to go watch one of his cousins at work at the local pagoda, where he was painting colorful murals.

Familiar with the Khmer countryside lifestyle -- he worked as a farmer himself -- Selong has joined several artistic events sponsored by the Cambodian Ministry of Environment. In 2018, he exhibited several of his major achievements in recycling art at the Siem Reap International Airport terminal. He is passionate about sharing his environmental awareness with the youngest generations through itinerary workshops.

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