Chanthou Oeur – Cambodia / Washington, D.C., U.S.A.


ARTIST BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Chanthou Oeur, orphaned at a young age was raised by various foster families and in a Buddhist temple. He experienced war as a child and as a soldier in two wars. He graduated college in 1974, but during the reign of the Khmer Rouge communists he surived by working as a peasant. This time from 1975 to 1979 is known at the time of the Killing Fields. People were tortured and executed for being educated or having contact with any international agency or foreigner. The estimates of the number killed range from 1.5 to 3 million out of a population of about 8 million.

A series of unexpected events occurred to Chanthou while he was teaching in a refuge camp that led to his immigration to Washington DC in 1978. Chanthou through public speaking and diverse forms of artistic expression shares his experiences and enduring spirit with those who are willing to see and hear.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT:

-The Inspiration of Snarm-

During the Viet Nam War in an attempt to stop Viet Cong supply lines President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger secretly from the Congress and the American People authorized a total of 3,630 bombing flights over Cambodia. Over a 14 month period ending in April 1970 by the Pentagon’s count the planes dropped 110,000 tons of bombs. After the secret came out more narrowly targeted bombing campaigns varied widely from 30,000 to as high as 500,000. Cambodia’s land area is about the size of New England.

“Snarm”

Amid the harmways
Within a harmful world
Snarm absorbs pain…
Maintains the peaceful stand…
Firm upon the feet
Up challenging the sky.

“Snarm”

Snarm is a Cambodian word that means scar…
the scar of wounds that heal and don’t heal.

Snarm is an abstract which depicts a realistic
life and spirit so real and surreal.

Snarm scribes shallow visible marks upon the
face and body for eyes to see…

Who knows how deep…Snarm harms
Snarmway upon the living spirit of you and me.

Close your eyes…look at snarm…and…please tell me, tell yourself and tell the world what you see!!!