Many will be aware of the story of the Cambodian artist Vann Nath, the painter who survived a year in the S-21 extermination center in Phnom Penh in 1978, who returned to paint the scenes he witnessed and which hang on the walls of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum today, and who has been a key witness in the ongoing Khmer Rouge Tribunal currently taking place in Phnom Penh. He was the central character in Rithy Panh’s award-winning film, S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine.
On Tuesday Vann Nath was admitted into the emergency ward of Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh suffering from a bowel (duodenom) and stomach haemorrhage. He is fighting for his life, with his wife and children at his bedside.
Vann Nath’s resources are thin, so an immediate appeal has gone out for donations towards the family’s medical bills. This appeal will close this coming Saturday. Hanuman has worked with Vann Nath on many occasions over the years, both as a guide and speaker for tour groups at Tuol Sleng, as well as appearing in countless documentaries co-ordinated by Hanuman Films. We are supporting the appeal for our friend, Vann Nath.
Update on 11 May: I am pleased to report that Vann Nath is now out of hospital and recuperating at home. He is still quite weak and needs to rebuild his strength before any decision is made on whether surgery will be required but it seems he is over the immediate crisis of a few days ago. He is thankful to all those that offered their support and contributions to his medical care.