Title: Crossing the Boundary at the Pass of Kel 1908—Preah Vihear
Embroidery, beads, metal grommets, and buttons on canvas
Dimensions: 24 × 24 inches (61 × 61 cm)
Acquired through the George and Mary Rockwell Fund
Object Number: 2014.014.001
The Kel Pass played an important role in the numerous re-mappings of the border between Cambodia and Thailand in the early twentieth century, contributing to the escalation of tensions over the ancient Hindu-Buddhist temple of Preah Vihear. Located in close proximity to the national border between the two countries, Preah Vihear has been an ongoing source of conflict as it has been and continues to be claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia. The area continued to be haunted by violence during and after the Khmer Rouge period.
Many of Chung’s abstract cartographic depictions of such sites, based on historical and present-day maps, focus on the histories and geographies of territorial conflict and its impact on human populations. Chung describes her process of crafting these maps:
"Each map involves my doing research, drawing layouts of old maps (from the periods of those traumatic events) on canvas, embroidering railways, roads and river systems. At the final stage I pierce holes on canvas and secure them with painted metal grommets and buttons one by one, mapping all areas with colored dots and eyelets. This painstaking process meditates on the memory and experience of trauma and tragedy, which leave mental scars in the human psyche – whether it’s a cessation of feeling, psychic closing off, or sensory panic."
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.