Resisting: To Live
Roun Ry (Cambodia)
Since the completion of the Lower Sesan 2 hydroelectric dam in northeast Cambodia in 2018, almost 5,000 villagers have been displaced from their homes. The dam construction forced a physical separation between the villagers, those who left and those who stayed behind. It also caused an emotional and political divide within the community.
The old village was mostly abandoned. All the homes, monasteries, and schools were flooded, and the farmlands were destroyed. However, some villagers felt compelled to remain close to their ancestors’ sacred burial grounds and remained in their flooded village trying to survive. Those who decided to move were provided compensation, housing, and land from the dam company.
However, they continue to struggle financially, starting a new life with few resources, and suffer from the separation from their families and ancestral lands. This project is an exploration of their story, and how their life has been affected – it is a story of survival.
Roun Ry is a freelance photographer based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He has a strong interest in environmental and social issues. His work has been featured in several publications, including Asia Society, China Dialogue, Al Jazeera, VOD News, New Naratif, and NRC. He has also worked with a number of NGOs, including the Diakonia Organization, APOPO (HeroRAT), RECOFTC Cambodia Organization, We World Onlus, Better Factories Cambodia, GPE, and Solidarity Center.
He exhibited his works at “Our Village” presented at the Mirage Contemporary Art Space in Siem Reap in 2019. His second exhibition was mounted as part of the Les Focales du Pays d’Ague Festival 2020 in Honfleur, Normandy, 2020. He most recently took part in the exhibition “A Great River” at the Xishuangbanna Foto Festival in Jinghong City, China in 2021 and later at Incheon Marine Photography Festival 2022 in Korea. He is also one of five recipients of the prestigious Creative Generation Award.