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"Scars and Stripes"

Exhibition about war, genocide, resettlement, deportation

“Scars and Stripes” exhibition poster. Photo courtesy Silong Chhun

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Now open at Spaceworks Gallery is a startling exhibition presented by Red Scarf Revolution that explores the impact of war, genocide, resettlement, and deportation of Cambodian Americans today. Curated by Silong Chhun, founder of Red Scarf Revolution, the exhibition features 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, and artworks by Raisa Nosova; Masahiro Sugano; Joe Bun Keo; Khosal Kiev, who has been deported from the United States to Cambodia; Aragna Ker; Lauren Lida, who currently has an exhibition at the Art Xchange in Seattle; photographer Stuart Isett; and Tacoma artist Anida Yoeu Ali.

Each of these artists is thoroughly contemporary, and their works often defy categorization and can be challenging and inventive. Ali is known as a performance and installation artist. She is a first-generation Muslim Khmer woman born in Cambodia and raised in Chicago. In this exhibition, she will show a group of four panels of embroidered barbed wire on canvas, plus there will be a video by her husband Masahiro. Isett documented the lives of hundreds of Cambodian boys who lived in inner cities in Chicago, many of whom were in gangs and many of whom were deported. His documentary photo series is called Lost Boyz.

Chhun says the photos and text panels, paintings and conceptual art from the Wing Luke Museum's exhibition detail "the plight of the Cambodian American community, from fleeing a war torn country, then trying to assimilate in a new country, to our biggest issue that our community still faces today, which is deportation."

There are approximately 30-40 pieces in the show.

Chhun says he hopes the exhibition sheds light on the secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos during the Nixon administration and how that may have indirectly lead to the rise of the Khmer Rouge and the results of the whole ordeal.

Red Scarf Revolution aims to bring awareness to the tragedies, atrocities and cultural destruction the Cambodian people endured under the Communist Khmer Rouge regime and how that period impacts us today.  

"Scars and Stripes," 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 1-9 p.m. Third Thursday, through April 20, Spacework Gallery, 950 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.682.1722,

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