Cambodian Americans (Multicultural America:)
Kim Huot Kiet, an officer in the air force of the Khmer Rouge, escaped Cambodia before the regime of Pol Pot hunched its genocidal campaign in the late 1970s. Kiet left behind his wife and four children, who were killed.
After settling in the United States, he reclaimed Cambodian culture through art by reproducing the traditional garb worn by Cambodian dancers. "In Cambodia, there is traditional and classical dance with mask and crown and costume," Kiet says, but until he found a book in the Library of Congress, he did not know what the masks looked like.
Kiet began sketching and painting art masks, and with the help of friends he helped bring from Cambodia, one of whom knew how to perform Cambodian dances, he also makes costumes and headdresses. Kiet's work has been exhibited from New York to Florida, insuring that Cambodian culture endures in America.
Kim Huot Kiet
Kim Huot Kiet is in his mid-fifties. He is Cambodian and fled to the United States from Thailand in 1975. I visited him in his home in New York. Three walls of his cramped living room are lined to the ceiling with golden faces, some haunting, others angry, a few smiling. All are frozen symbols of Cambodian culture. There are over thirty Khmer dance masks, all...
(The entire section is 2019 words.)
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