IMPACT is a celebration of the significant developments in Cambodian mine action since mine clearance activities began in the early 1990s. Ten Cambodian artists were engaged to create artworks portraying these issues after visiting two of Cambodia’s most mine-affected provinces, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey. Some of the featured artworks were created using ERWs (explosive remnants of war) that organisations involved in de-mining activities donated to the project. The exhibit, which featured paintings and sculptures, was held in Cambodia in October 2009 and travelled to Cartagena, Colombia in December 2009 at the Second Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty.
IMPACT also exhibited at the UN Headquarters in New York in celebration of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on April 4.
The painting here is “Sounds of Silence” by Ben Thynal.
Photos courtesy of UNDP/Nathan Horton
For more information, visit:
IMPACT: Land Mine Art
International Campaign to Band Land Mines
E-MINE Electronic Mine Action Network
Unvalued Drop of Water
Approx 120 (H) x 80 (W) x 80 (L) cm
Chhea Bunna: “Water is the most important liquid for living beings, but if we have land that is contaminated by landmines and cannot be used for farming, then water becomes useless in those areas. Landmines also make it impossible to access water sometimes. Water is then unvalued. The purpose of this sculpture is to show people that some areas have not yet been cleared of landmines. This work also represents the tears of the villagers in contaminated areas.”
152 (L) x 100 (H) cm
Chhim Sothy: “Through my art work, my vision is to show the pain of the people in the area along the border with Thailand and the happiness that comes from demining. The central Buddhist figure represents the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, which coordinates all mine action activities in Cambodia to clear mine-contaminated areas.
To the left of the painting, the central figure is symbolically pushing away mines and explosive remnants of war which present danger to the people, and to the right it is embracing the happiness and development that come to the people when they have safe land.”
My land is cleared, my hope restored
Approx 40 cm (L) x 30 (H) x 20 (W) cm
Chhonn Dina: “The buffalo and its owner represent restored normal life in the countryside: signs of hope. Countryside life is very hard work, but the buffalo is strong, patient and committed. He is connected to the land together with his owner and will help bring forth something good from the soil. I hope that this will encourage people in countries affected by mines to recover from the despair brought on by these weapons.”
Untitled (Painting on burlap)
142 (L) x 142 (H) cm
Em Riem: “The materials used are very simple. Thus, burlap painted with black acrylic represents the Cambodian earth, which contains, in its secret, a deadly danger: the mine. My work consists of three different elements: one canvas, one mannequin and one little lunchbox. Each represents a constitutive aspect of the story told by this installation. (Click here to view Em Riem’s complete installation.)
This installation is telling a simple account of a horrible tragedy. But the people of Cambodia remain proud and dignified and have confidence in the future.”
Approx 100 (H) x 30 (W) x 70 (L)
Ou Vanndy: “This sculpture represents the courage of the Cambodians who tirelessly work as deminers, removing landmines and UXOs from the land, making it safe for the people. In tough conditions they work in the burning heat of the day and have cleared thousands of hectares of land so the people can now use it productively.
I still remember words from one soldier who said that he would sacrifice his own life to save the lives of four or five people who could potentially be killed by a landmine. This illustrates the deminers’ unerring courage and bravery.”
Blow to Grow
140 x 140 cm
Ouk Chhim Vichet: “The centre of the painting signifies the detonation of the land mines which is the result of hours of work.
The red and blue parts of the painting are the mines that will be destroyed. These mines have fooled some people with their glittering colors and valuable metal shells. Some people forget the dangers and try to tamper with the landmines.
The dark yellow and white colours represent the sign posts where mines have been destroyed and where the land is cleared. The land is in the shape of a water droplet which symbolises how priceless rain water is.
120 (H) x 60 (L) cm
Srey Bandol: “This painting is about the sadness and despair that the Cambodian people have felt after years of conflict. The broken frame at the top of the painting represents the start of the war which allowed mines to be brought into Cambodia and planted in conflict zones. The central image of the cow represents Cambodia and its people who have worried about war and the mines that littered the countryside. At the bottom are images of mines, BAN LAR LOUS means danger from mines. However, although there is danger, mine action programmes give us HOPE.”
110 (L) x 90 (H) cm
This collage shows improving family conditions after demining has taken place. I took photographs of various business signs along the streets in Battambang, which signify the increased economy, a positive situation for people post-mine clearance.
140 (H) x 50 (L) cm
Tor Vutha: “This painting is based on the livelihood of the rural Cambodian people, especially in mined areas. Poor families are easily affected because they need to make a living by farming in potentially contaminated areas. In this first painting I want to show the actual activities of some Cambodian people who use landmines and explosive remnants of war for fishing. Sometimes they end up getting injured or killed.”