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Photo Phnom Penh Festival 2023 : Kim Hak


KIM HAK (Cambodia, born 1981)
Gallery of Institut français du Cambodge
My Beloved

Starting in 2005, Kim Hak traveled around Cambodia for five years while working for the travel industry. That was before he devoted himself entirely to photography. His knowledge of the country was invaluable when he undertook, in 2012, a personal journey with some close friends and his family all around the country and to photograph the diversity and the landscapes along the Mekong, around the lake Tonle Sap and down south to the sea and coastal provinces. This work went on for ten years and Kim Hak was able to observe that certain places have disappeared or have been considerably transformed by the rapid upheavals and constructions of recent years.

This subjective travel album is always framed with extreme precision and the color, without effects, subtly highlights the richness and diversity of Cambodia’s landscapes. Kim Hak says it clearly: “Cambodia is much more than the clichés of Angkor Wat and the Khmer Rouge Killing Field. This is where I was born and raised. It is the land that gives me life and it is rich in art and culture, beautiful ordinary people and such a rich nature”.

The series My Beloved is Kim Hak’s love letter to Cambodia… and to photography.


Born in Battambang City, in the northwest of Cambodia. Kim Hak was born two years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. He grew up listening to his parent’s memories of that time. Now, he uses his art practice to raise awareness of this country’s past – to remember, reclaim and reinterpret Cambodian social history from before, during and after the Khmer Rouge era. Hak’ s work has explored a number of themes related to the cultural fabric of Cambodia, including survivor stories (memory, refugee camps, host countries, Cambodian diasporas, healing process, communities, humanity, and renaissance), the funeral of King Sihanouk, architectural documentation and also the wider changing landscape of his homeland. Kim Hak has exhibited extensively throughout Asia, Oceania, Europe, Canada, and the United States of America. His work was featured internationally during art and photography festivals and has been published in a number of prominent photography magazines.

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