april - september 2022 | at the lynn museum
The Khmer Identity Exhibition
ស្រមោល | Shadows
ស្រមោល | Shadows
If our bodies, living and breathing, represent our grounding in the present moment, their shadows are the remembrance of the past.
Shadows, the remembrance of a life that could have been, then displaced to a world that left physical marks (ស្នាម) that can still be seen in the motherland, and marks that can not be seen, as new generations of Khmer diaspora bloom, and inherit these traumas.
Like lakorn sbek (ល្ខោនស្បែក) the traditional shadow puppet used to tell stories in Cambodia, we at Khmer Identity are using shadows and memories, to explore the many interstitial spaces beyond what was and what is Khmer Identity.
The Krama Project is a photography series consisting of individual self portraits within the Cambodian community in the US. This project is seeking to highlight different Khmer identities while also addressing our ancestors’ experience during the Khmer Rouge regime.
The red and white krama, just like the towers of Angkor, has become a symbol of Khmer identity. While its image can be found in our day to day lives, it was tainted after it was adopted as part of the Democratic Kampuchea uniform. Our goal is to reclaim this image as a symbol of our unity and resiliency.
We shared the sentiment with Séra that besides Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek, there is no site in Cambodia for our people to gather and remember families that were lost. The sculpture “To Those Who Are No Longer Here” was supposed to be a public sculpture meant to fulfill this lack, until the sculpture itself was removed quietly in the middle of the night. It was then placed in Tuol Sleng, an old high school turned into a torture site, and now a voyeuristic tourist trap – far from the original intention of the artist.
We want to honor Séra with the re-enactment of their work in the form of a photograph and ask the question “how do we heal collectively?”
Don’t Forget Me
A homage to French-Cambodian artist Séra’s sculpture
Why do people want so much? Why do you want so much? While others have so little…
In America, I seem to be too Cambodian to be American. In Cambodia, I seem to be too American to be Cambodian…even though I was born there. Fair. It’s painful, but there is some truth to it. Diasporic humans dream of their motherland and her culture, while living and assimilating into these new worlds that they have been displaced or migrated to. The reconciliation between the dream world and reality ends up creating a third culture.
Executive Director at Lynn Museum/LynnArts
Thank you to all of our followers for your submissions for the Krama Project
We’re grateful to have so many folks in different parts of the world join us in this journey.