Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Cambodian coincidences

Are there really any coincidences?

1. I'm reading a book by a Swedish journalist, Jesper Huor "Sista resan till Phnom Penh". He tells the story of his father, a Cambodian intellectual who left his Swedish wife and son to join the Cambodian revolution when Jesper was only two years old. As a grown up and journalist he investigates what happened to his father and meet his Cambodian relatives.

For the first time I think I get a glimpse of understanding of what happened, how Khmer rouge could kill millions of Cambodians in the 70s. One of them was Jesper's father, who died in Tuol Sleng, a prison only a handful of prisoners survived.

2. Jumped here and there on internet and stumbled over a ghostlike image of a prisoner in Tuol Sleng.
It's not Jesper's father, just one of the thousands and thousands of prisoner portraits later found in the archives from hell. But it could have been.

The artist's name is Binh Danh, a Vietnamese refugee who lived in America since he was two years. He uses a clorophyll process to transfer and fix the images on leafs, breathtakingly beautiful and very sad. The photo on my computer screen was
"The Botany of Tuol Sleng #11, 2006" .

Found a video interview with Binh Danh and more images here
and here.
Photo above is my own from a few years back, shows the original Tuol Sleng portraits.

3. An email came from the people behind the movie Holly, that opens Nov 9 in America (shown at the Göteborg film festival here, a fiction). They are asking for all kinds of support for the film and for the work against sex exploitation of children, huge business in Cambodia. I signed up at the Red light children-site initiated by the film's producer, that's why I got the mail.

Phnom Penh architecture from the sixties

4. My brave photographer friend Anders Jirås moved to Cambodia last week. Email from Pnom Penh yesterday, everything is fine. I hope he will start a blog! It would bring us dance and theatre experiences and his lovely photography.

So many good people work mending a broken country!


caroline : my pocket said...

Wow, that's so touching... Those leaf portraits are amazing, thank you for sharing the link. I'm enjoying your blog today, just found it. I really like your work, the garlands spoke to me with their simplicity and repetition. I too like that very much and find it inspiring. Thank you for linking me in your blog list, I will do the same. :)

caniche vagabundo said...

Very interesting! Do you know Dinh Q. Lê's work about this question? It´s interesting too...

Bibbi said...

Thank you, I'll look for him! Your blog looks good, can't read but like the pictures!

Bibbi said...

Thank you Caroline!