This photography book is part of the multimedia project Scars of Cambodia, co-written with the filmmaker Alexandre Liebert, which also features a silent 30-minute documentary and an audio slideshow. The photographs will also be part of an exhibition at the Galerie Stimultania in Strasbourg starting October 2nd, 2015.
“April 17th, 2015, marked the 40th anniversary of the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge, which led to three years of violence,” writes Arfeuil. “Cambodia still bears the traces of this genocide and is rebuilding itself on what a traumatized generation has left unsaid. It is a land of silence. It was my resemblance to his missing sister that led to my meeting with Tut, along with mutual curiosity and the return of memory. From this tenuous link, over the course of three years, we forged a relationship built on trust, during which he shared with me the memories of the torture he endured as a teenager, memories which he had repressed for so many years. Because we do not speak the same language, we communicated silently, through body language. Stories of past violence could be triggered by the most mundane objects. A cut flower, amputation; a bag of fruit, suffocation. Tut went so far as to act out the tortures to testify to what he experienced.”
The book Un passé sous silence documents an intimate encounter and paints a sensitive portrait of repressed memory, the way it can be communicated through gestures and looks, and the way it can define a person for life.
Un passé sous silence
Photographs by Emilie Arfeuil
Editions Charlotte Sometimes
numbered and signed by the artist
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