University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Voice to Vision V

“Sudan: Chaos and Technology”

32” H x 31” W, Acrylic on canvas and Plexiglas

David Feinberg. Drawing contributions of genocide survivor Augustino Ting Mayai and artists Ali Abdulkadir, Bonnie Brabson, Mary George, Jason Krumrai Rachel Mosey, Rowan Pope, Ryan Rasmussen, Nicole Rodriguez, Adam Streeter, Stephanie Thomson

Cambodia: The Story of the Broken WagonAugustino “Ting” Mayai was one of thousands of “Lost Boys,” or Sudanese refugees, who were orphaned when government troops destroyed villages and murdered civilians in Southern Sudan. Without family and support, the Lost Boys make almost superhuman journeys to relief camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, fending off the dangers of the wilderness -- starvation, wild animals, and infectious diseases. Some Lost Boys finally settled in the United States as aresult of the Second Sudanese Civil War.

The central part of Ting’s painting, composed of turbulent strokes of black and white, reflects the violence and conflict of the Sudanese Civil war. One of the small black lines outside the central image stands for Ting himself, alienated yetunable to detach himself from his Sudanese roots. The bold black line on the left hand side represents Ting reaching out of the conflict.

Within the chaotic center, the artist team integrated a photocopy of the engine of a toy plane, which reminded Ting of something man-made that had interfered with the Sudanese culture. The artist team also added a small negative image of the plane in the lower left. This image reminded Ting of a crocodile, one of the many dangers Ting had to evade as a Lost Boy. The red Plexiglas in the top left and bottom right signify unexpected dangers on a reluctant journey.

“Cambodia: The Story of the Broken Wagon”

12" W X 15" H, Bronze Relief Sculpture

Mark Biedrzycki, sculptor, with genocide survivor Bunkhean Chhun, and artist contributions from David Feinberg Jason Krumrai, Evelyn Lennon, and Rodney Massey

Cambodia: The Story of the Broken WagonBunkhean Chhun lived through the Vietnam War. His story is that of the Cambodian people caught between the Vietcong, American soldiers, and the brutal Cambodian government called the Khmer Rouge. In his words, he was caught between an alligator and a tiger. Forced out of the city by the Communists and into the fields, he labored for long hours beside other Cambodians.

"Life is a circle" is the main theme of the piece. The symbol of a circle is very important to Bunkean as he describes that we all are born, get old, and then die. In the middle circle we see a checkered board. This represents the rice fieldsin which Cambodians labored, often to thepoint of death by starvation and exhaustion. Bunkhean also depicts fish, abundant in the Cambodian rivers and lakes, and a dead body. This gives us a glimpse into what Bunkean would see on the riverbanks and floating down the rivers. Everything is united by water, a river flowing out of the piece and with water drops adorning every circle.

An ox cart full of rice is on the left. Bunkhean drove this cart to get water; h e also rode in many carts to escape. The wheel is broken like the bodies of the workers, and like the country itself. On the top right circle there is a boat. This boat honors the memory of a woman who saved his life. Bunkhean was in the water drowning. Though the woman was on the other side of the river and without a paddle, she used her hands and was able to get to him and save him. Bunkhean doesn't understand how this miracle happened.

Today Bunkhean lives in the US with his wife and children, teaching math.

“Cambodia: My Brothers”

14" W X 9" H, Bronze Relief Sculpture

Mark Biedrzycki, sculptor, with genocide survivor Bounna Chhun, and artist contributions from David Feinberg, Ryan Rasmussen, and Bunkhean Chhun

Cambodia: My BrothersBounna Chhun was one of the millions caught up in the murderous chaos that engulfed Cambodia in the 1970s. She and her family were forced to do hard labor in the rice fields by the Khmer Rouge, hard-line Communist-Nationalists thatcontrolled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. It was the goal of this government to create anagrarian- Communist society. Bounna was taken out of the city and led to the fields where she and thousands of other people would work.

The central imageof the piece is Cambodia's largest lake, Tonle Sap. Coming out of the lake is the river that some people followed to try to head back towards the city.

Once they were set free, people and cows alike ran, depicted here by the hurried footsteps that adorn all the negative space of the piece. At one point, because they were let go, Bounna's brother was able to catch a cow. They sold the cow to pay transportation out of the fields.

The eight figures on the top left represent Bounna's family: her parents with six children. Four brothers died during their time in the fields. Two were shot by some soldiers on their way to the hospital. A third brother was fed to the crocodiles because he was educated. Their tombs, and that of their father lie below the lake. A rifle is pointed at the two brothers who were shot. Above the lake is a crocodile and Bounna's third brother.

Bounna said; “…My mother kept telling me don't die, don't die, I have to live.” We see a tree that represents this hope of survival, with the abundant foliage symbolizing life. As a last touch Bounna added the heart to portray what still connects her to her family then and now.

“Hanover, Germany: A View From the Balcony”

12" H x 9" W, Bronze relief

Mark Biedrzycki, sculptor, with Holocaust survivor Fred Amram, and artist contributions from David Feinberg, Mary George, Rachel Mosey, and Rowan Pope

Hanover, Germany: A View From the BalconyFred is a writer. Several of his stories involve the image of a balcony, the central element of this relief. On the balcony, Fred's mother is holding Fred as an infant during his bris, a Jewish ceremony involving the boy's circumcision on the eighth day of life. During Fred's bris, Hitler passed by in a parade below Fred's balcony. Just as Hitler passed under the balcony he and his soldiers gave the Nazi salute, creating the illusion that he was saluting the Jewish baby. Fred's father is represented standing above the balcony.

Fred lived in an apartment building with a bomb shelter in the basement. Jews were forbidden to go to the shelter. During a British bombing attack near Fred's building, Fred's mother, enraged and desperate, stepped out onto the balconyand pleaded with God to let a bomb hit their building and destroy everyone. She cried out, “If they won't live with Jews, let them die with Jews.”

To the upper left of the balcony, the Nazi swastika pierces the Star of David, the symbol for Jewish identity and Judaism. The Star of David is shattered by the swastika, but not destroyed.

The balcony emerges from a wall that reflects the destroyed brick building in which Fred lived. It also represents the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall or Kotel, a holy Jewish site in Jerusalem. Slips of paper containing written prayers are placed in crevices in the wall. In this relief, the Western Wall appears in ruins, cracked and scarred by bombing.

Below the wall is a ship representing Fred and his family sailing to escape the ravages of Europe. The ship is sailing away from the letter “A,” the first letter of the name of Fred's only cousin, who was murdered in Auschwitz before her fourth birthday.

“Rwanda: The Wall”

12" W X 11.5" H, Bronze Relief Sculpture

Mark Biedrzycki, sculptor, with genocide survivor Alice Musabende, and artist contributions from David Feinberg, Ryan Rasmussen, Nicole Rodriguez, and Adam Streeter

Rwanda: The WallDuring the genocide in 1994, the Hutu Government raided the homes of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days of horror. Almost a million people were killed, a pace of killing without parallel. Alice's experiences during the genocide are reflected in this piece.

The main element is Alice's home that was destroyed. The number “94” marks the year when everything happened. There are two huge tires on top of the piece, the front of a bulldozer, and the tracks of the trucks that overran her grandfather's land during the genocide. A crumbled wall in the center represents all that remained of Alice's home. Bullet holes lacerate the wall where her parents were shot and killed. The guns pointing at the wall were carried by the soldiers who murdered her family. Between the tracks there is a hole, this hole represents a well where a body was thrown.

Although there were ruined homes and dead bodies all around her, Alice was worried about her favorite book. We see her book in the shadow of her house. She was desperate to find this book because, to her, it signified her childhood.

Alice was closer to her grandfather than to anyone else in her family. She added objects to the sculpture to remind her of her grandfather- a scythe and a radio. She would walk along with him in the fields as he used his scythe and together they listened to the radio that he carried with him everywhere. The radio broadcast was always in French, a language that Alice translated for her father. This companionship-in fields with the radio- is something lost to Alice now in all but her memories.

“Sudan: A Village Was Once Here”

16" H x 12" W, Bronze Relief Sculpture

Mark Biedrzycki, sculptor, with genocide survivor Augustino Ting Mayai, and artist contributions from David Feinberg, Evelyn Lennon, Ryan Rasmussen, Nicole Rodriguez

Sudan: A Village Once Was HereAugustino Ting Mayai was one of thousands of “Lost Boys" Who were displaced during the Second Sudanese Civil War, one of the bloodiest wars the world has seen since the end of World War II. The fighting raged between the Arab-dominated North, who controlled the central government and the South, whose residents are considered largely Black-African. Whole villages were often wiped from the face of the earth during the fighting. Ting Mayai represented this tragedy in “Sudan: a Village Was Once Here.”

When soldiers came to his village, Ting was tending cattle, a common responsibility for young boys in his culture. He immediately became separated from his family, who hade been occupied with different tasks. There is a field for cattle and goats in the lower right quadrant of the piece. The terrain of the livestock pasture is cracked; there was hardship in this village even before the War came. A path separates this area from a cornfield in the lower left quadrant; on the path a child's ball lays solitary and motionless. The ball serves as a reminder that children once played on the path before they had to flee; the ball also recalls their lost childhood. The isolation of the ball also references the isolation of Sudanese communities from the Arab ruling classes. The footsteps on the path were made by villagers as they escaped.

There are three disturbances upon the earth where homes once stood. The structure left standing, in this piece, is only there in reference to what used to be there, Ting explains. In reality, the entire village was razed to the ground. Around the destroyed homes are crops that have been set aflame. For Ting, the flames also represent The Fire Within; psychological consequences of violence that can consume the survivor if that person avoids dealing with the trauma of the past. “Life is Struggle”, the LIS on the top of the piece has become a motto in Ting's life. During the making of the piece those participating decided that it was an important addition and a necessity.

Now Ting is finishing grad school and speaks to communities about his experience.

“A Ladder and a Stop Sign”

10" W X 9" H, Bronze relief

Mark Biedrzycki, sculptor, with Native American sexual abuse survivor Christine Stark, and artist contributions from David Feinberg, Ali Abdulkadir, Bonnie Brabson, and Stephanie Thompson

A Ladder and a Stop SignAs a child of physical and sexual abuse, Chris's road to recovery has been long and hard. Throughout her childhood and teen years, Chriswas forced to participate in pornographic videos and she was sold as a prostitute by both her father and grandfather.

Chris's cultural heritage is Anishinabe/Ojibwe. She attributes her survival to her “dodem,” or spirit animal, an important element in her culture. She says that the belief in her Dodem helped her endure the horrific abuse she experienced. Chris's dodem is an eagle.

The main element of this piece is an eagle's head, which curves to a point on the right – the eagle's beak. The three projections stretching toward the lower left of the piece represent the eagle's feathers. The oval-shaped hole in the center of the eagle's head is the eye. The triangular shapes in the top left are arrowheads. The circular bird's nest near the eagle's beak is filled with eggs and signifies new life and new beginnings.

There is a ladder at the bottom of the piece that emerges from a wall and overlaps the eagle's head. This structure represents Chris's climb out of abuse with the dodem's help. At the top right corner of the piece is a stop sign, representing her urge to stop the people who victimized her. The sculpture's red color reminds us of the earth and our shared origins.

Chris still experiences flashbacks about her trauma. She moved away from the people who victimized her, a helpful step, -and -now she -does a great deal of writing to express her feelings. She also teaches classes in creative writing at a local college.

“Cows Are Owned By Rwandans, Horses Are Owned By Foreigners”

32" H x 31" W, Acrylic on canvas and wood

Alice Musabende, genocide survivor and David Feinberg. Drawing contributions by artists Ali Abdulkadir, Bonnie Brabson, Mary George, Peter Lommen, Rachel Mosey, Rowan Pope, Ryan Rasmussen, Nicole Rodriguez, and Stephanie Thompson.

Cows Are Owned By Rwandans, Horses Are Owned By ForeignersIn 1994, genocide swept Rwanda in a conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi peoples. When a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down, massive and indiscriminate violence was exacted against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The genocide ended in July of 1994, 100 days after it had begun. The death tll was close to a million people.

Alice Musabende is a survivor of the chaos. She chose the piece of dyed cloth because it looks like the blood soaked clothing from people who were killed and whose bodies were left on the roadside.

The horses have their own story. Alice said that she doesn't really like horses. When she was a little girl, she remembers, downtown Kigali and the riding club. The members were rich white people who would ride their horses around town. She thought it was fun to run after the horses when they would come through town.

The cows in the painting symbolize the importance that Rwandans placed on these animals. The cows have a special place in Alice's heart and bring back fond memories. She described cows as her “grandfather's babies” and she said that every one of the cows had special names. Cows are a sign of prosperity in her culture. Her grandfather was a Tutsi. When the cows would get loose, people would complain and he would receive fines from the Hutu-led local government. Finally, one day he got tired of complaints and fines and he sold all of his cows. Alice said he was never happy after that.


“The Ladder”

22" H X 26" W, Acrylic on canvas

Christine Stark, American Indian sexual abuse survivor, and David Feinberg, with drawing contributions from artists Ali Abdulkadir, Bonnie Brabson, Peter Lommen, Rowan Pope, and Stephanie Thomson

The LadderThroughout her childhood and into her teen years, Chris endured enormous sexual abuse by her father and grandfather, who sold her as a prostitute and forced her to perform in pornographic videos. Chris still struggles with her traumatic past, but says that she is managing to function. Chris sees her experience as a continuation of the organized sexual violence that was used as a weapon against her native people for centuries.

The central image of this painting is a tree, which represents Chris's family tree and celebrates the native ancestry of her family. The tree occupies the negative brown space in the bottom left of the piece; a resilient branch stretches upward and to the right. The tree is severed because her grandmothers, both ofwhomwere natives to America, were disconnected from that ancestry. Even though the tree is broken, a part of the tree is still growing. This represents a part of Chris that has managed to grow.

The strip of film in the painting symbolizes the pornographic videos in which Chris was forced to participate. Successive lines of dots inside the gray areas echo this idea. The more randomly placed dots represent the flashes of the camera. A wooden line was added to the piece to convey a feeling of separation; Chris spoke of how her abuse split her life between two different worlds. The scattered formations of lines throughout the piece were applied as she struggled to tell her story. These lines are an outward representation of her internal conflict with her past. A ladder in the painting represents Chris' efforts to make a connection to her family and her ancestry, a connection that is critical to making her whole again.

"Two Butchers: Circumcision in Nazi Germany"

by Fred M. B. Amram

31'H x 19' W, Acrylic on canvas, Plexiglas and wood.

David Feinberg. Drawing contributions of genocide survivor Fred Amram and artists Bonnie Brabson, Mary George, Jason Krumrai, Peter Lommen Rachel Mosey, Rowan Pope, Nicole Rodriguez, Adam Streeter, and Stephanie Thompson

Two Butchers: Circumcision in Nazi GermanyThroughout all generations, every male shall be circumcised when he is eight days old...This shall be my covenant in your flesh, an eternal covenant. (Genesis 17:1-14).

God spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to the Israelites: When a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy...And on the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” (Leviticus 12:1-3).

Two butchers attended my circumcision.

It was late in September of 1933. I was eight days old. The day had been set aside for my circumcision. Ashkenazi Jews called it a bris. Sephardic Jews called it a brit or more formally a brit milah, a ritual circumcision. Either way it's a bigdeal and a party was scheduled in our fourth floor apartment.

Nowadays circumcisions are commonplace and they're usually performed in hospitals shortly after birth. However, for religious Jews a special ceremony is involved and, certainly, when I was still a tad in Hannover, Germany, a bris involved relatives, dinner, drinking-a major celebration. After all, one is celebrating the birth of a male child.

The relatives had arrived. Uncle Max came from Hamburg. Aunt Beda, whose hugs I adored during my adolescence because of her substantial bosom, came with her husband, Uncle Ernst, from Berlin. My widowed grandmothers, of course. And my mother's sister Carola and her husband Kurt, who never had children of their own and doted on me, drove all the way from Kassel. Friends from the synagogue were there. And then entered the butcher Goldman.

Theological regulations "circumscribe" the ritual for circumcisions. A professional circumciser is hired. In Hebrew he's called a Mohel, in Yiddish a Moyl. While the butcher Goldman was not a certified rabbi, he had the special training of a Moyl. He knew the ritual, the prayers, the cutting technique and he had a sharp knife.

Moyl Goldman, a small, heavily bearded man in his mid-forties, began by blessing the wine. Almost all Jewish ceremonies begin with a blessing for wine. It's a marvel that we're sober most of the time. Papa placed a few drops of wine on my lips, presumably as an anesthetic. I was expected to join in blessing the wine. I gurgled my best imitation of a Hebrew blessing. When the Moyl became serious I let out a bellow.

I've been asked by friends to provide more details about the event. Unfortunately, three factors interfere with my memory. First, expert as old Goldman was, the pain was excruciating. Second, in some Jungian flashback, I was reliving Everyman's fear of losing his manhood. And, third, I was drunk.

I know that Goldman washed his hands in a special bowl and said the blessing for washing the hands. Jews have a blessing for everything. After more prayers and blessings he cut.

Papa paid Mr. Goldman who then returned to his regular job. He was the local kosher butcher.

Then the dinner. Mutti started ushering the guests to a fine buffet when we heard music. A marching band. Uncle Max, the family tease, announced that there was to be a parade in the honor of my manhood. Several guests believed that he could pull off such a trick. Imagine, celebrating a Jewish babe in Nazi Germany with a parade.

As the music became louder everyone rushed to the windows. Our apartment had a small balcony and Papa carried me outside to see my first parade. There were soldiers in khaki uniforms and shining leatßher boots. There were drums and clarinets and all the wonderful brass instruments one expects in a marching band. And between platoons of more soldiers we looked down on a long black open car. The man standing near the back of the car had dark hair and a mustache. Just as he came to our balcony he saluted with an outstretched arm at a forty five degree angle. At that sign the platoons of German military might also have saluted and shouted, "Heil Hitler.” Mutti pulled us inside. Adolph Hitler was not a welcome guest at my bris. He was, however, the second butcher to attend.

Is there a blessing for two butchers at a bris?

© 2007 by Fred M. B. Amram.

“Cambodia: Caught Between an Alligator and a Tiger”

31" H x 39" W, Acrylic on canvas, wood and Plexiglas

David Feinberg and genocide Cambodian survivor Bunkhean Chhun and artists Ali Abdulkadir, Bonnie Brabson, Mary George, Jason Krumrai, Rachel Mosey, Rowan Pope, Ryan Rasmussen, Nicole Rodriguez, Adam Streeter, and Stephanie Thompson

Alligator and TigerThis artwork reflects the experiences of Bunkhean Chhun, who was imprisoned and forced intohard labor by the Khmer Rouge, the brutal government that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. When the Vietnamese Communists invaded, the Khmer Rouge retreated and abandoned Bunkhean and his fellow prisoners. Since Bunkhean wasn't a native of the area of Cambodia in which he was found, the Vietnamese mistook him for a member of the Khmer Rouge, and he was tied to a tree, stabbed and tortured.

On the left side of the picture Bunkhean made a drawing by of himself tied to the tree. When other prisoners revealed to the Vietnamese that Bunkhean was not involved with the Khmer Rouge, he was untied, temporarily, in order to be re-interrogated. When Bunkean realized that the Vietnamese were unwilling to release him, he made his escape, eventually fleeing to Thailand. The curved white path extending off the canvas represents this journey.

Bunkhean started his painting by making a series of blue circles that represent water. To begin the collaboration, the Voice to Vision art team selected a photograph of a drop of water and placed it in the right corner of the painting. During his labor under the Khmer Rouge, Bunkhean was forced to drive an ox cart, and later he used an ox-cart to transport water to other workers. The broken wheel attached to the painting reminded Bunkhean of the ox-cart. Just as Bunkhean's life was "broken," the wheel, too, is broken and damaged and represents the "broken" lives of Cambodian people.

In the center of the painting is Bunkhean's depiction of Tonle Sap Lake, a large body of fresh water that empties into the great Mekong River. Bunkhean painted the lake red because human corpses had been disposed of in the lake. The corpses are represented by Bunkhean's drawing of a skeleton at the bottom of the painting. The only blue remaining on the lake is its title, written in Khmer.

Above the lake is a sign with Khmer script in green and red. The original green letters denoted a school; later, under the Khmer Rouge, the letters on the sign were written over with the new function of the facility: "interrogation center.”

Near the top of the painting are American bombers, representing the secret air war the United States waged against the Communists and the Cambodian people. The Cambodian people were trapped in the midst of horrors caused by the Americans, the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists. Bunkhean says, "It was like being trapped between an alligator and a tiger.”

“LIS: Life Is Struggle”

33" H x 27" W, Acrylic, wood, found objects, Plexiglas, collage

David Feinberg. Drawing contributions of genocide survivors Fred Amram, Bunkhean Chhun, Bounna Chhun, Augustino Ting Mayai, Alice Musabende, Christine Stark, and artists Ali Abdulkadir, Bonnie Brabson, Mary George, Jason Krumrai, Rachel Mosey, Rowan Pope, Ryan Rasmussen, Nicole Rodriguez, Adam Streeter, and Stephanie Thompson

LIS: Life is  StruggleAll of the survivors and artists in Voice to Vision Five were involved in this collaborative piece. It began with a blank, arbitrary background consisting of a woodwork structure and a random design of yellow stripes. The survivors were asked to paint two symbols anywhere on the background.

Fred, from Hanover, Germany, chose the letter "A," painted in black in the top left corner. "A" stood for the first letter of the name of his only cousin, Aaltje. When Fred and his family fled to America to escape the Nazi regime, baby Aaltje and her familyremained behind in Holland. They all were ultimately exterminated at Auschwitz. Fred also chose the model of an old man, in the bottom right corner, which reminded him of an "old wise man.” The figure, which was broken, was fitting with the story Fred told: it was the destiny of so many elderly people to be murdered in the Holocaust.

Ting, from Sudan, chose the symbol "LIS," painted in white in the center of the piece, which stood for "life is struggle," and he chose the transparent airplane, which is enlarged in a photocopy on the bottom of the piece. The airplane reminded Ting of a "foreign structure" -- something man-made that was interfering with his culture and his people.

Bunkhean, from Cambodia, chose the broken wagon wheel, which reminded him of an ox-cart he was forced to drive in Cambodia and a representation of his broken country. He also chose the symbol of the skull and crossbones, painted in yellow below the wheel, to illustrate death.

Bunkhean's wife Bounna told her own story, passionately and tearfully. Bounna painted just one symbol, the pink star in the top right corner, which represented "love.”

Christine, a Native American, chose a filmstrip, which symbolized the pornographic films she was forced to participate in as a child, and she chose the railroad crossing sign. Christine said that she has a "certain level of loathing and anxiety" when she sees trains, a feeling she couldn't verbalize.

Alice, from Rwanda, chose the cow because cows are important animals in Rwanda and are symbols of status. Alice also painted a blue tree at the bottom of the piece, representing a tree outside of her house that was cut down. She painted the tree blue because when she was living in a refugee center, there was a man who would come in and randomly choose which people would live and which people would die. When this man told people, "You, I want you," the people who were going to die became so frightened their skin turned blue.

After the survivor's contributions to the piece, the artist team tied the symbols together in a cohesive way.

The artists started with an enlarged photocopy of a synagogue, one of the synagogues destroyed during Kristallnacht, an anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany from November 9 to 10, 1938. During Kristallnacht, 91 Jews were murdered, and 25,000 to 30,000 were arrested and deported to concentration camps. More than 200 synagogues were destroyed. Fred saw this synagogue -- the very synagogue in our piece -- burning on the night his father secretly brought home a Torah, the most holy of Jewish writings, which was illegal to possess at the time. "LIS," or "Life is Struggle," became the centerpiece of the dome of the synagogue, and the expanded size of the synagogue connected the other symbols in the piece.

“Cambodia 1975-1979”

26" H x 32" W

David Feinberg and genocide Cambodian survivor Bounna Chhun and artists Bonnie Brabson, Chris Charbonneau, Rowan Pope, Nicole Rodriguez, and Michael Zittlow

Cambodia 1975-1979Bounna Chhun says she sometimes meets her brothers in her dreams. They are never able to stay with her, they always fade away. By the end of the Cambodian genocide in 1979, Bounna would losefour of her brothers and her father.

Forced with her family to leave her city home, Bounna lived for four years in a labor camp under the dangerous thumb of the Khmer Rogue, the Communist Khmer that controlled the country.

While at the camp, one of Bounna's brothers cut his foot on a jagged rock, disabling him from working in the rice fields with the rest of the prisoners. Bounna's injured brother was soon ordered to follow two of the camp guards away from the huts. Noticing his brother trailing behind the two guards, another of Bounna's brothers ran after them, demanding that they tell him where they were leading his injured sibling. The guards told the questioning brother that they were headed to the hospital, and that he was welcome to join them.

Working in the fields that day, Bounna noticed her two brothers being led a few kilometers away from where she was working. Seconds after the figures disappeared from Bounna's sight, two gunshots rang out. At that moment, Bounna knew that two of her siblings were gone forever.

Although they knew the soldiers would have brought the two men's bodies into the jungle and left them on the ground, fear of the tigers, snakes, and other wild animals that roamed the forests kept Bounna's family from providing a proper burial. Additionally, the punishment Bounna and her family stood to receive had they ventured into the jungle would have proved unbearable. Bounna's life was engulfed in terrifying danger- inside and outside the camp.

Bounna's painting in part represents this danger- the central figure of the tiger illustrates the perilous wildlife that peppered the jungle surrounding the labor camp. The machete serves as a symbol of the brutal camp guards like the ones who led Bounna's brothers away from her. Bounna recalls a painful blow to her head by the handle of one such instrument on the day she entered the camp, used by a member of the Khmer Rogue, knocking her to her knees. In the end, Bounna would lose two more of her brothers- one more executed, the other escaping the camp, yet disappearing thereafter.

When the remainder of Bounna's family returned home after their four years at the camp, the food they had left in their bowls the day they were taken remained- a reminder of a life now changed forever.