San Art is disappointed to announce that this solo exhibition ‘Bomb Ponds’ has been cancelled due to government restrictions on exhibition licensing. We sincerely thank Vandy Rattana and SA SA BASSAC, Phnom Penh for their understanding at this difficult time.
San Art will remain open with its reading room and collection works on view for visitors.
San Art to host solo exhibition by Cambodian artist, Vandy Rattana.
There is a Khmer proverb that says: You can hear something a thousand times and not know it, yet if you see it with your eyes just once, you know. – Vandy Rattana
Between 1964 and 1975 the United States of America military dropped 2,756,941 tons (230,516 sorties on 113,716 sites) of bombs across politically neutral Cambodia. This figure went unacknowledged until 2000 when Bill Clinton traveled to Vietnam and quietly released previously classified Air Force data on American bombings in former Indochina.
Dissatisfied with the level of documentation produced on the subject, Vandy Rattana traveled to the ten Cambodian provinces most severely bombed in the U.S. military campaign during the Vietnam War. Along the way, he engaged villagers in locating and testifying to the existence of the craters made by the bombings, known in the Khmer language as the “bomb ponds”.
The resultant work is a series of nine quiet, mysteriously serene landscape photographs and a confronting one-channel documentary film in which villagers describe their memories of the bombings as well as their relationship to the ponds today. The Bomb Ponds invites audiences to connect with both the fragility and the resilience of the people and the land, and to reconsider the historical thread of America’s actions during the Vietnam War and subsequently, similar acts of violence worldwide.
Born into the tenuous recovery period after the official fall of the Khmer Rouge, Vandy Rattana (b.1980 Phnom Penh) is concerned with the lack of physical documentation accounting for the stories, traits, and monuments unique to his culture. His serial work employs a range of analog cameras and formats, straddling the line between strict photojournalism and artistic practice.