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Khmer Letter Blocks (2016)

Khmer Letter Blocks (2016)  explores the issue of identity, particularly that of Linda’s Cambodian heritage and that of her family’s. The work looks at the fading of traditions within her family home, particularly looking at her Khmer language, and is an attempt to reconcile the disappearing past of the Khmer culture and negotiate between her two identities.

 

The work uses a child’s play alphabet block and investigates the stories that were difficult to translate and speak to a child about. Through the use of Khmer and English texts, these difficult stories are privately revealed. Words in Khmer are written so that when spoken out loud by a Cambodian person, the English speaker may understand the word or phrase. The words in English are done in a similar way so that English speakers may speak Khmer to a Cambodian person. Neither of the two will understand what is being said to the other unless both languages are understood. Linda remains in this liminal zone between English speakers and Khmer speakers, whilst simultaneously not belonging to either of the two groups.