In spring of 2003 I was able to travel to Cambodia where I worked for Kids Earth Fund at Kids Care Cambodia orphanage for HIV positive children in Phnom Phen.
I was profoundly influenced by my experience there. I meet the kindest people and although a challenging and sometimes hard environment I enjoyed many aspects of Cambodia’s beautiful culture. The children possessed such courageous characters and kind hearts always giving their gift of beautiful smiles and bright eyes, even when life was a struggle. I was able to make some sketches during my stay and have continued to be inspired by my time in Cambodia.
Everyday the children would climb upstairs and take a nap during the sweltering heat of the day. This proved to be the perfect opportunity for me to draw although after the first few days the children became a little too interested in watching me draw. Soon I found myself in room where towards the end of siesta there was only one sleeping child and an audience of keen little eyes watching my pencils progress.
I hope to return to Cambodia one day and see some of the children and staff who made my time so special and rewarding.
Back in Japan I held an exhibition of some of my drawings and made lithographs of sleeping children.
This exhibition was dedicated to Pho Sam Ouem who died on 8/6/03.
I am very grateful to Kids Earth Fund for making my trip to Cambodia possible and to all the staff at Kids Care Cambodia for showing me such wisdom and kindness and to the staff and artists at Machida Museum of Graphic Arts for making it possible to use such a wonderful print studio in Japan.