The Vann Nath book of paintings aims to represent faithfully the trajectory of Vann Nath’s body of work between his fight for the memory of the victims of the Khmer Rouge, his longing for peacefulness, and his commitment to peace. This book outlines the duty of witnessing that Vann Nath shouldered to pay tribute to his less fortunate companions, and also the necessity he felt to share his extreme experience with the “post memory generation” (cf. Marianne Hirsch) of Cambodians so that they may carry forward the voices of the victims, thereby preparing the ground for a better future. Vann Nath, unlike many of the survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime, did not attempt to bury his trauma with silence but instead chose to open up and use his trauma as a radical instrument to protect tomorrow from the atrocities.
Jean-Sien Kin, the editor of the book and Yean Reaksmey, one of its six contributing authors to the volume, will further discuss the impact and influence of Vann Nath’s work and activism on the young generation.
Jean-Sien Kin is a graphic designer and a co-founder of the association “le Cercle des Amis de Vann Nath”. His parents fled Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime and he was born in France. At the age of 23 years old, he started searching about his own identity as a son of Cambodian immigrants. He subsequently met Vann Nath in 2006 and got to know him until the time of his passing in September 2011. He offered to help Vann Nath to make a book about his paintings published in March 2022.
Reaksmey Yean is an art curator, writer, and researcher. A program director of Silapak Trotchaek Pneik, Yean is an Alphawood scholar (SOAS, the University of London), a SEAsia Award Scholar (2017) of LASALLE College of the Arts, an Asian Cultural Council fellow (2018), and an LL.M. Public International Law student at Royal University of Law and Economics/University of Paris 8 (2020-2022).
Dr. Eve Zucker, CKS President