Saturday, November 15, 2008

Living Hell

This coming Tuesday (18th), a travelling photographic exhibition will open at the Reyum Gallery in Phnom Penh before moving onto show at the ECCC, Kompong Cham, Takeo, Battambang and Tuol Sleng. Gunnar in the Living Hell is an exhibition of colour photos from a 14-day visit to a Khmer Rouge-controlled Democratic Kampuchea in August 1978 by a Swedish delegation. A member of that delegation, Gunnar Bergstrom will return to Cambodia for the first time since 1978 to open the exhibition, having donated all of his personal collection to DC-Cam, who will host the exhibits. Bergstrom freely admits to a grave misjudgement on his part for failing to see through the propaganda show put on by the Khmer Rouge for the Swedish visit. They were taken to Phnom Penh, Kandal, Siem Reap, Kompong Som and Kompong Cham provinces where they saw hospitals, factories and schools. They even had dinner at the Royal Palace with Pol Pot and Ieng Sary. It wasn't until survivor reports and stories came out a year later that Bergstrom knew he had been duped. A book has been produced to accompany the exhibition.

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