In 1979, Chath PierSath and his family crossed the Cambodian border into Thailand to escape the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in his homeland. The familyâ€™s first stop was the Aranyaprathet Refugee Camp. With the help of his brother and aunt, he and his sister came to America in 1981, and lived first in Boulder, Colorado. He is a graduate of World College West in California, with a degree in international service and development. He later earned a master’s degree in Community Social Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. In recent years, he has lived in both Cambodia and Lowell, where he works to improve each of his communities.
Chathâ€™s writing, acting, and painting are strong reflections of his commitment to telling the story of the Cambodian War and of the rebuilding of Cambodian culture. His poem, â€œA Letter to My Mother,â€ appears in Children of the Killing Fields: Memoirs of Survivors, compiled by Dith Pran and edited by Kim DePaul (Yale University Press, 1997). His paintings were included in the exhibition â€œThe Spirit of Cambodia … a Tributeâ€ at Providence College in 2002 and in â€œEmerging Voices/Healing Souls: Contemporary Cambodian Artists in the Aftermath of War,â€ a 2003 exhibition at the Brush Gallery and Studios in Lowell. His poetry appeared in the first issue of The Bridge Review: Merrimack Valley Culture in 1997.
When in Cambodia, Chath exhibited with other Cambodian artists at Java Cafe and Gallery, Alliance FranÃ§ais, and Cambodian Living Art House in 2003. He is currently residing in Cambodia painting for his upcoming solo exhibit at Java Cafe, titled “Lights and Shadows”, a series of paintings depicting the goods and the bads of his daily experience living in his homeland. His writings, poems and daily diary to his American friends by e-mail, telling of his every day experiences in Cambodia, are featured in the Bridge Review, an online journal of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, along with a selection of his paintings.
His other paintings can be viewed at www.saklapel.org.