The Khmer Rouge's brutal Marxist regime attempted to turn the country into a communist agrarian utopia but instead committed genocide and crimes against humanity. People died from starvation and disease, many were displaced from their homes, and intellectuals and professionals were taken from their families and executed. Many Cambodians left the country and headed as refugees to countries such as the UK, France and the USA.
SEA Arts and Khmer Arts & Heritage worked together on the project. Twenty five oral history interviews were filmed with Cambodians living in the UK. People reflected on their and their family’s experiences during the upheavals and purges, and the challenges they faced as they resettled in the UK. The younger interviewees spoke about how they try to maintain Cambodian cultural traditions.
Hackney Museum supported those conducting the interviews with training. Workshops at SOAS University of London and Hackney Museum helped the project interpret the oral history material they gathered and create an exhibition.
The exhibition toured Hackney Museum, SOAS University of London and Khmer Arts & Heritage Gallery in 2015. This was the first time an exhibition on this subject had been held in the UK. A booklet was produced to accompany the exhibition, and workshops for schools based on the exhibition’s material were held at Hackney Museum.
More information on the project is available on the Anglo Asiatic Arts & Heritage Alliance website.