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Painter of Genocide Honored by Human Rights Watch - 2002-11-19

Vann Nath survived the infamous Tuol Sleng prison under the Khmer Rouge based on his ability to paint.

On November 4th, he received an award from Human Rights Watch Asia at the Asia Society, presenting a talk on his ordeals under the Khmer Rouge and his paintings that depict his experience.

One of Cambodia’s most famous painters, Nath is one of only seven known survivors of the “S-21” prison, where thousands of people perished at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Nath was spared to paint portraits of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader.

His paintings depicting the horrors of this genocide are now shown at Tuol Sleng, a prison-turned-museum. Nath is also the author of A Cambodian Prison Portrait: One Year in the Khmer Rouge’s S-21 and the 2002 recipient of the Hellman/Hammett Award.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh, a writer and linguist, also received the same award from Human Rights Watch Asia.

Click Here to read about Cambodian artists who confront the past in "The Legacy of Absence" by Sarah Stephens.