When the artist Sera was just 13, he watched his father reluctantly leave the French Embassy, where his family was seeking refuge as Khmer Rouge troops swarmed into Phnom Penh in April 1975.
It was the last time the French-Cambodian would ever see his father. Their forced separation and the years that followed are the driving force behind the artist’s involvement in a reparations project for which a Kickstarter fundraising page has been set up to match donations already pledged by the French Embassy and the Congressional Group of French-Cambodian Friendship.
The Cambodian Tragedy Memorial Project needs $85,000 to get off the ground and would see two sculptures, named “The Guardian” and “The Supplicant,” installed in a designated park area opposite the French Embassy as a way of honoring the victims of the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh.
“The figure reversed is a person pleading or prayer according to our interpretation of the gesture and posture,” the artist said by email Wednesday.
“The other is a bruised man. But it is a serene form. These forms tend to express distress and helplessness of men on April 17, 1975.”
It is one of 13 proposed reparations projects in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Case 002/01, in which a verdict is due on August 7.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said the project was one of 13 officially recognized reparations projects. It is one of 13 proposed reparations projects.