Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Celebrated sculptor, Im Chan

Celebrated sculptor, Im Chan

Celebrated sculptor, Im Chan

im2.jpg
im2.jpg

Im Chan 1943 - 2000

The sculptor Im Chan has died. Known to the international community as one of the

few survivors of the infamous Khmer Rouge prison, Tuol Sleng, Im Chan was born into

a family of farmers in Kandal Province. He studied silver sculpture at the national

art school from 1957 to 1962 and then joined the workshops of the Royal Palace as

a wood sculptor, carving intricately patterned doors and decorative panels for the

King. In 1967, he moved to Siem Reap where he served as sculptor for Angkor Conservation

until civil war ended all restoration work on the temples.

After the Khmer Rouge take- over in 1975, Im Chan was called to Phnom Penh by the

new government's Ministry of Industry. He worked supervising mold-making in the metal

workshops which produced parts for basic machinery. As the regime continued and internal

purges began, Im Chan was sent to Prey Sa prison, a hard-labor camp on the outskirts

of Phnom Penh. Escaping with several friends, Im Chan tried to return to Siem Reap.

Along the way, he was caught and sent to Tuol Sleng prison. Under interrogation,

Im Chan's captors learned that he was trained as a sculptor. He was taken to the

workshops of the prison where he remained for the rest of the regime, sculpting heads

of Pol Pot from photographs and film clips that were shown to him.

Immediately after the fall of the Pol Pot regime, Im Chan served as an advisor for

the establishment of Tuol Sleng as a museum and served as a guide. He then worked

at the Department of Conservation of Monuments attached to the Royal Palace. In 1987,

he began to teach at the national art school where he served as professor of sculpture

until his retirement in January of this year.

Im Chan is survived by his wife and their four children. Hearing of the death of

his companion in the prison, Vann Nhat, the prison painter, said sadly "now

there is only me left, there is only one left".

A Buddhist memorial service will be held beginning on Friday, Feb 18 at 3:00 and

lasting through Saturday morning at House #445, Street 310, Beng Keng Kang II (across

from Tuol Sleng Museum). Contributions to defray the funeral costs can be given to

the family at this time.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused