A tentative foray into war and death, the Wall Installation of a Vietnamese-Cambodian artist invites modern people to reflect upon the troublesome past of Southeast Asia.
Inspired by the Cambodian genocide in the era of Khmer Rouge, Le Huy Hoang built a wall using animal bones.
“I want to remind people of the cruelty of war,” said Le, the 45-year old artist who was born in Vietnam and brought up in Cambodia. His father, a Cambodian military doctor, died in the war when Le was young. “ there is always wars going on in this world, but I want to remind people of the lives being lost,” said the artist.
“There is a wall between all of us, between countries, between cultures, those walls lead us to fight against each other”, said Le, “prejudice, discrimination,ignorance, misunderstanding are all walls.”
That is why Le has chosen to display his work in the Goethe Institute, a German cultural and learning centre located in central Hanoi. “I wish the German element of this place make people relate to the Berlin Wall.” Said the artist.
Sitting at the foot of the installation, Le talks about another expression of his work. “Prison”, he said, “sitting here and look up, it reminds me of my days in a prison camp in Cambodia.”
“There used to be a lot of fighting, the authority usually locked up those involved, and for many a time I was kept there.” Added the artist.
Four dim light bulbs cast ghostly light on layers of ribs, teeth and skulls. They stick out from a pile of lost souls, their shapes are distorted and amplified under the light, just like the many stories the artist is trying to tell.