Past Exhibit: Scars & Stripes

March 9, 2017 – April 20, 2017

Red Scarf Revolution presents

Scars & StripesA Cambodian American Experience

Explore the dramatic impact of war, genocide, resettlement, and deportation of Cambodian Americans today while experiencing their cultural contributions. This exhibition featured work by contemporary artists as well as photos and text from Khmer American: Naga Sheds Its Skin, an exhibition created by the Khmer American community and Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

Mass displacement

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—founder of Red Scarf Revolution—was born in Cambodia at the tail end of the Khmer Rouge’s brutal regime. He and his family migrated to Tacoma two years later. As a boy, Chhun tried to fit in with American culture while trying to maintain the culture of his homeland. However, it wasn’t until his teenage years that he became aware of the dark past and tragic history of Cambodia.

Lasting effects of war

President Nixon gives a speech about expanding the war into Cambodia, April 30, 1970. United States Federal Government photograph. Public domain.

“Scars & Stripes” uses imagery and text to explore the effects of the United States’ involvement in war. With this installation, Chhun uncovers 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 overthrew the existing government and carried out the Cambodian genocide between 1975 and 1979 through torture, mass executions, use of forced labor, malnutrition, and disease killing 1.7-2.5 million people out of population of 8 million. [Wikipedia]

From tragedy to healing

Chhun’s 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 Red Scarf Revolution. This revolution raises awareness of a human tragedy that a new generation must learn from and never repeat. “Scars & Stripes” continued that theme and helped to create dialogue in order to heal.

Patrons joined the artists and Red Scarf Revolution for the official public reception on, March 16th, 2017, at Spaceworks Gallery. This event was free and open to the public.

Facebook event: Scars & Stripes | Opening Reception

Featured Art By:

Special Thank You To:

Wing Luke Museum logo   Studio Revolt logo   Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) Logo

Wing Luke MuseumStudio Revolt, and Documentation Center of Cambodia

Red Scarf Revolution Logo - transpRed Scarf Revolution is a participant of Spaceworks Tacoma’s Creative Enterprise program Spring 2016 cohort. Read more about Chhun’s Tacoma-based business and shop their apparel that promotes healing and positive change →

Scars & Stripes art exhibit