Foreword from Joel Montague

Hand-painted sign on canvass in Cambodia showing a strong man and various animals

From the collection of Joel Montague

Joel Montague is a veteran of hand-painted signs in Cambodia and his collection is a unique record of those from the 1990s. I was fortunate enough to make contact with Joel in the USA ahead of publishing my book and he has kindly written a foreword based on his experience of collecting, researching and exhibiting the signs. He has also shared some photos of items in his collection. One of these is in the book and here are two more.

Of the one above, Joel notes:

“A typical circus sign on canvas so that it can be rolled up and transported easily. It shows a huckster strong man who finds a space, draws a crowd, lifts heavy things, breaths fire and sells home brew medicine. The ingredients of this medicine are on the sign, horn etc. The text names the strong man as Taing Kimleng and gives his address as 7 Makara Market, Sangkat Boeung Kak 11, Khan Toul Kork.”

Hand-painted Cambodian sign showing a women having a treatment

From the collection of Joel Montague

Joel’s comments on this one:

“A nice but rusty beauty salon sign which says beauty saloon for men and women. Fixing nose, eyes, mouth, chin, anti-acne and face massages. The words ‘Aesthetic Surgery’ in English are there to give it a bit of class.”

Thank you Joel for sharing these fascinating examples from your collection. Joel is also planning a book which will feature these and many more that he owns. I’ll post about this once it is published. It will add to his existing titles, Picture Postcards of Cambodia and The Colonial Good Life: Commentary on Andre Joyeux’s Vision of French Indochina.

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