Vann Nath, Cambodian artist and survivor of the Khmer Rouge torture center at Tuol Sleng (S-21), will exhibit a new series of paintings, entitled "Endurance," at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok from February 1 through February 27, 2008.
The exhibit depicts his own story of capture, interrogation, imprisonment at S-21 (Tuol Sleng) prison and ultimate survival. More than14,000 men, women and children were sent to Tuol Sleng - only seven survived, of whom Vann Nath is one of three who remain alive today.
It was because of his skill as an artist that Vann Nath survived S-21 - his life was spared so that he could be put to work painting and sculpting portraits of the regime's leader, Pol Pot. Subsequently, much of his career has been devoted to chronicling through his paintings what he witnessed in S-21. Vann Nath's art is not angry, but it shouts the truth about human suffering and death under the Khmer Rouge.
Van Nath, an outspoken advocate for justice for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, . was prominently featured in the Rithy Panh documentary film S-21, The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine. Most of the paintings recently completed a 6-month exhibit at the new Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia under the title "Transfer."
With the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh expected to try former S-21 Prison Chief Duch this year, as well as four other Khmer Rouge leaders, this exhibit has profound historical significance. It serves as a stark reminder of actual and potential human rights abuses in contemporary societies that act in secret without checks.
Vann Nath will speak briefly and answer questions at the opening reception on Friday, 1 February at 7:00 pm. He will also sign copies of his book, A Cambodian Prison Portrait. Several complete sets of a limited series of signed fine art reproductions of the exhibit pieces will be available for purchase. The sale is intended to alleviate his medical expenses for kidney disease.
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