Pencil sketches reveal artist’s perspective on KR tribunal

Pencil sketches reveal artist’s perspective on KR tribunal

More than 20 pencil sketches on display at the Bophana Centre in Phnom Penh explore artist Kou Dalin’s personal perspective on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

The exhibition, titled My Dreams of Justice, shows drawings by 20-year-old architecture student Kou Dalin while she attended the trial of former Khmer Rouge leader Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, over the course of nearly a year.

She said she was contacted by the Taramana Centre, a French organisation that works with poor children in Cambodia, to attend the hearings and make sketches.

“Before I was contacted by the Taramana Centre, I wasn’t very interested in the past sufferings of the Cambodian people because I only heard about the Khmer Rouge regime from my mum and old people,” Kou Dalin said.

“After I was contacted I started paying attention, following the hearings on television and radio, and reading books and documents about the regime even when I was busy with my high school diploma exams.

“What I was most interested in during the trial was the way Duch spoke and behaved, and the way the witnesses spoke. If I got an idea and started a draft sketch at the tribunal, I would spend two days drawing the picture.”

Kou Dalin said attending the hearings had helped her gain understanding of the deep suffering of the Cambodian people under the Khmer Rouge.
She said she hoped that her drawings would raise awareness about the tribunal among young people so they could learn the truth about Cambodia’s past.

“I think young people should try to learn about the regime and the tribunal because it’s an important part of our history,” she said. “We need to respect human rights and the justice system in Cambodia to avoid repeating those dark days.”

One of Kou Dalin’s pictures shows several thick books with sketches of Duch on their pages. The artwork is captioned with the words: “Have you ever read this book? Duch is like a thick, complex book. It is very difficult to read and understand about him.”

Among those who attended the exhibition’s opening last week was Moeung Mom, 45, accompanied by her husband and 10-year-old son.

“I’m old enough to remember the Khmer Rouge, but I never paid attention to the tribunal because I was always busy and didn’t want to be reminded about the cruel regime,” she said. “After seeing these sketches, I feel like I want to start telling my son about what happened during those years.”

In addition to Kou Dalin’s sketches, the exhibition also includes written and audio archival material and testimony from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Bophana Centre (64 Street 200) is open daily from 8am to 6pm. The Kou Dalin exhibition runs though July 30.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune