ALL IMAGES AND TEXT COPYRIGHT MAGA ESBERG 2014
A series of photographs from the S-21 prison/ Tuol Sleng Museum of genocide in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The email reply arrived quickly. Yes, I could use the images wrote Doug Niven, a researcher I had contacted via the tuolsleng.com website. “The photographs are considered as ‘war booty’; they are now in the public domain”. How could anyone really claim ownership over them. Certainly not Nhem Ein who took most of them. Between 1975 and 1979, he and other S-21 prison’s staff photographed thousands of Cambodian people brought in by the Khmer Rouges.
The series was commissioned for an exhibition at the Hot Bath Gallery in Bristol as part of an artist residency at Taunton and Somerset Hospital. I was given access to the Imaging Diagnostic Technology to produce work for the hospital. I wanted to represent the experience of breast screenting I had observed and documented during the residency. Flowers were pressed and scanned on a scanner as breasts are during a the mammogram procedure. The piece takes his title from the incidence of breast cancer in the population. One woman out of ten is at risk.