Young entrepreneur, Cheab Sibora, from Siem Reap meticulously handcrafts Barbie dolls to outfit them in detailed Khmer Apsara costumes. It can take up to 60 days to complete one doll and he builds them to match the hair and faces of the dolls.
With support from his family, friends and the local press, he claims to be the only artist creating Apsara dancer dolls. So far he has created 10 traditionally dressed dolls and had displayed them at a local fashion design show.
Now that they’ve proved popular with the public, he’d like to move away from Barbie and find a more Khmer-looking doll to work with.
“I want to make more dolls, but my studies mean I’m too busy. But I plan to make Khmer dolls in the future rather than Barbies, and my family and friends are encouraging me to do this,” he says.
“Even though I’m trying, I can’t make a hundred per cent traditional Khmer face and hair because I got the dolls from other countries, particularly China. This means I have to darken the Barbies’ face and hair colour.”
In full here.