Cambodia Reawakening: One Year After the Khmer Rouge

A photo exhibition by John Burgess at Footprint Cafés from 3-17 May.

Photo exhibition at Footprints Café
"Cambodia Reawakening: One Year After the Khmer Rouge", a photo exhibition by John Burgess at Footprint Cafés from 3-17 May.

“Cambodia reawakening: one year after the Khmer Rouge” is a photo exhibition by John Burgess, former journalist at the Washington Post in collaboration with Anjali House, an educational Cambodian NGO. The photo exhibition is co-sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.

John Burgess, American author and journalist who covered the Indochina refugee crises in 1979 and 1980 was one of the first journalists to be granted a reporting visa to enter Cambodia in 1980. He arrived in April of that year, one year after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, and photo documented the re-emergence in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap and around Tonle Sap Lake. What he saw was a variance of attitudes and capacity toward leaving the Pol Pot era behind.

37 years later, the young generation of Cambodians still face the past, each and every young person is affected by this time in history. This exhibition encourages young people to reflect and learn about the Khmer Rouge period and by partnering with Anjali House’s young adults, there is a touching element to the exhibition through understanding how these young people interpret their history.

Cambodia Reawakening One Year After the Khmer Rouge John Burgess 1980

One student wrote the following poem, and other interpretations are equally moving.

I Want to know the Reason

Riding an old bike
under the sun, without shoes.
A small bag of rice and mat.
No education.
Where should I go
and what should I do?
I see a tank.
Makes my tears drop.
Thinking about the past.
The black war.
My family.
My country.
My suffering life.
I want to know.
I want to understand.
What did we do wrong?
Why must you kill?
Why must you punish?
I want to know the reason.

By Eung Sok Buntha, Age 17

Anjali House have a special focus on photography as part of their programs, students of Anjali House are encouraged to be creative through many mediums. The students working on this project have also had a focused learning of their history which is dramatic and touching.

The exhibition will open with a special event this Wednesday at 7pm at Footprints Café, $10 entry fee is donated to Anjali House. It will run until 17 May and general entry is free.

More information is available on the Anjali House website.


An introduction video to “Cambodia reawakening: one year after the Khmer Rouge” by John Burgess himself: