The Sleuk Rith Institute has approved plans for a sculpture dedicated to women survivors of the Khmer Rouge. The institute, once built, will be an international hub for genocide research, and the sculpture, “Pillar of Hope,” will be featured there.
Sirik Savina, director of the institute’s Museum of Memory Project, said 70 percent of the survivors of the Khmer Rouge were women, and the sculpture is meant to honor them.
“They lost their husbands, their families and relatives, but they were still courageous, standing up and joining in the rehabilitation process in various sectors, such as education, economics, and culture,” she said. “They are the momentum of the development of this society, so it is important to recognize their contribution.”
Commissioned from Indonesian artist I Nyoman Nuarta, the sculpture will depict a woman rising from the earth, carrying a child.
I Nyoman Nuarta, a veteran sculptor, visited Cambodia in July, to study the country’s ancient and modern history, and to meet with women survivors of the Khmer Rouge, before providing several ideas for a sculpture.
The creation of “Pillar of Hope” is now under way in his studio in Indonesia. In an interview with the Voice of America, I Nyoman Nuarta said he used sculpture as a means to describe “politics, society and everything in our environment."
VOA Khmer's Sou Pisen contributed to this report.