A Cambodian Prison Portrait by Vann Nath
One Year in the Khmer Rouge's S-21
The harrowing tale of a survivor of a secret prison known as Tuol Sleng or S-21, where more than 14,000 men, women and children were tortured and executed during the Khmer Rouge regime. The author is one of only a handful of people who can describe life in the prison. Upon entering S-21 in 1977, Vann Nath was beaten and tortured and almost starved to death. But because of his prior training as an artist, he was not killed: instead he was put to work painting portraits of Pol Pot, or "Brother Number One", leader of the Khmer Rouge?s cruel experiment in radical Maoism. When Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia and entered the capital city in January 1979, toppling the Khmer Rouge government, Vann Nath escaped. By that point more than one million people throughout Cambodia had died from executions, starvation, forced labor, or disease as a result of the Khmer Rouge?s attempt to force an agrarian revolution. When a Museum of Genocide was created on the grounds of the former prison at the end of 1979, Vann Nath went back to Tuol Sleng, working there for several years. He returned to his former craft, painting scenes of prison life so that visitors could learn of the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. His paintings hang in the museum today. Vann Nath?s words and paintings, published here, stand as a testimony to the horrors of Pol Pot?s Cambodia.
Size 150 x 210 mm