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  Monday, 21 March 2011
in Khmer and English

with artist Khiang Hei

Cambodian–American artist Khiang H. Hei (1968, Phom Penh / BFA, SUNY 1991; MFA, UCLA 1996) is primarily concerned with contemporary social, cultural and political matters relating to Southeast Asia and how this intersects with his own personal history and experiences.

Please join us for the final related event marking the end of The Bomb Ponds exhibition; Khiang will discuss his decades-long documentary photographic project on the Ho Chi Minh Trail:

“My interest in the Ho Chi Minh Trail is the experience and survival of the Hill Tribe People (collectively known as Montagnards) in Laos and Cambodia. Geographically isolated, until recently the Hill Tribes have had little contact with the outside world. While some Montagnards participated in the Vietnam war as combatants, many tribes had no experience or knowledge of the war until American bombings began. Suddenly and inexplicably, their villages and communities were being destroyed, as the American offensive violently disrupted their lives and physical environment. More than three decades later, the remnants of this bombardment - artillery shells, fuel tanks, etc. - still litter this area and the Hill Tribe people have found new roles for these war materials in their lives and communities. The very materials that once threatened their existence have been re-appropriated and converted into useful everyday tools and objects -- from boats and housing materials to garden planters and jewelry. Bomb craters have become water supply ponds for cooking and farming. Remarkably, the tools of war have become tools of daily life, work and survival.” - Khiang H. Hei