Somchai was a self-taught artist of Cambodian or Hmong origin who lived in Koh Mak in the pre-tourist era. He created numerous sculptures (mostly of erotic nature) that are scattered throughout the island and concentrated in a sculpture garden adjacent to his home in Ao Suan Yai on the west side of Koh Mak. The sculpture garden, called The Kingdom of Somchai’s Affection, is a “surreal collection of sculptures, in a papiermâché-like style, of naked women. These figures are posed as tables, as water spouts, as chairs or just standing, bending and kneeling, with nothing left to the imagination.” The visionary environment consisting of ready and wlling females is an impressive example of creative wish-fulfilment and a bright specimen of outsider art – inspiring for some and repulsing for others.
There are 1,796 devata at Angkor Wat, according to recent research by Kent Davis, who claims that these sculptures are not abstract decorations but reflect the features of real women who lived in Angkor. He goes even further postulating a theory that Angkor wasn’t built to honor kings or gods, but to glorify women. One can believe it or not, but the beauty and life force of these figures are apparent.