'Victims of the Khmer Rouge', (2008), oil on linen, 140 x 100 cm.2008
Sadly, the Nazi Holocaust of the 1940s did not prove to be the last genocide in human history. Others have since occurred in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur. ‘Victims of the Khmer Rouge’ depicts the grief statue standing before the so-called ‘skull map’, that is, a map of Cambodia made from the skulls and bones of the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime that was displayed in the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phoem Penh from 1979 to 2002 as a testimony to the atrocities committed by Maoist ideologues under the leadership of Pol Pot. (Tuol Sleng was originally a high school that became the main prison and torture centre of the regime.) It has been calculated that 1.7 million Cambodians died during the period 1975-79 from starvation, overwork, execution and torture. Although the skull is a somewhat tired and overused emblem of death in art, its multiplicity in the skull map may serve to renew its potency.
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