TACOMA, WA – Red Scarf Revolution presents “Scars & Stripes” at the Spaceworks Gallery (950 Pacific Ave.; Entrance on 11th St.). The opening reception is Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 5PM to 9PM. The exhibition will run March 9 – April 20, 2017.
The exhibit explores the scars of war, genocide, resettlement, and deportation of Cambodian Americans. “Khmer American: Naga Sheds It’s Skin”, on loan from the Wing Luke Museum, helps to tell these stories through photos and text panels. Moreover, it features art about the plight of the Cambodian American community: from fleeing a war-torn country, to the assimilation in the new country, to the biggest issue – deportation. Featured artists include Anida Yoeu Ali (Tacoma/UW Bothell), Jesse Hansonl (Seattle), Stuart Isett (Seattle), Joe Bun Keo (Connecticut), Aragna Ker (Long Beach, CA), Khosal Kiev (Cambodia), Lauren Iida (Seattle), and Raisa Nosova (New York).
In America, the Pacific Northwest is home to the third largest Cambodian population. This community at large is a direct result of the Vietnam War as there were almost no Cambodian immigrants before 1975. In 1979, Silong Chhun—exhibition curator and founder of Red Scarf Revolution—was born in Cambodia at the tail end of the Khmer Rouge’s brutal reign. He and his family migrated to Tacoma two years later. As a boy, Chhun tried to fit in with American culture while maintaining the connection with the culture of his homeland. However, it wasn’t until his teenage years that he became aware of the painful recent history of Cambodia.
Chhun’s personal story of awareness has inspired him to tell the story of his people. He sheds light on the darkest tragedy in the history of Cambodia and the resilience of the Khmer people through his company, Red Scarf Revolution. Through apparel designs, a memorial website, and plans for a museum Chhun’s revolution raises awareness of a human tragedy that a new generation must learn from and never repeat. The exhibition continues that theme and uses the mediums of art, photography, and text to create dialogue and promote healing.
“Scars & Stripes” also explores the effects of the United States involvement in war. With this installation, Chhun exposes the secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos by the Nixon administration. On the ground, these bombings were ultimately used as propaganda and preceded the Khmer Rouge’s rise to power. Khmer Rouge put an end to a lengthy civil war, but established a new regime and policies that resulted in Cambodian Genocide, decimating nearly a quarter of the nation’s population. Many survivors escaped to U.S. where they silently carry the scars of their history.
The cultural power of immigrants is on full display during this exhibit and reminds us all that the U.S. is truly a nation of immigrants. This experience is an all-ages event and everyone is welcomed. So, please join us at the Spaceworks Gallery.
An opening reception for the exhibit will be held Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 5PM to 9PM. Find event details at https://www.facebook.com/events/420868581593632/
– Spaceworks Gallery