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.
Wall Installation, 2012
Inspired by the Cambodian genocide in the era of Khmer Rouge, Le Huy Hoang built a wall using animal bones.
There was once a King with a chubby face on the Golden Throne of Cambodia. Living in the grand royal palace encrusted with precious of diamond in Phnom Penh, his Grace might have believed that things could last forever until his abdication forced by the then Prime Minister Lon Lol. It happened in the year of one thousand nine hundred and seventy, when the king was travelling out of the country. The city then witnessed a series of political turmoil followed by the victory of the Khmer Rouge, who reset the calendar of Cambodia back to Year Zero. Under the guidance of the agricultural reform, the regime “cleaned up” the capital city with such humane achievement as executing numerous intellectuals, and sending the rest of them to labour camps in rural Cambodia where they were killed by exhaustion. Eight years later, a Vietnamese armed forced recaptured Phnom Penh and established a government. The survived Cambodian had to work unceasingly to rebuild this shelled city, which was still recovering slowly from its traumatized past.
Imagine a regime that tries to kill all the educators in the countries so that the people become dumb and obedient. It is not a joke made by a pesky kid who hates school, but a part of modern history in Cambodia that still plagues the country today. On April 17, 1975, the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK, also known by the public as the Khmer Rouge), a former guerrilla made its way out of the jungle and started a four-year bloody ruling that turned Cambodia into something worse than hell. The Capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, once known as the “Pearl of Asia”, had a population of 3 million before was made into the Cambodian version of Silent Hill overnight—thousands of teachers, doctors and scholars were executed, the rest were evacuated to labour camps in rural Cambodia and died of starvation or overwork.