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Chath Piersath


Chath Piersath was born in Banteay Meanchey province, Cambodia, in 1970 and came to the United States as a refugee in 1981. He received a Bachelor degree in 1993 from New College of California in International Service and Development and after a MA in Community Social Psychology. Chath never studied painting but began painting in year 2000 as a way of exorcising his memory of war and violence. He uses art to work with people who have been traumatized by war, social inequity and injustices and as his own personal expression. Since he returned to Cambodia for the first time in 1994 he has lived between his adopted home in the United States and in Cambodia, to volunteer as a social worker and work as an artist.

“Some people who have seen my paintings in an exhibit have said that the work express too much sadness, which they find, opposite from my happy, open hearted nature. For many Cambodians, my paintings are ugly. The people I paint have large eyes and funny gestures. They’re not pictures of smiling Cambodians. Definitely, they are not paintings of Angkor Wat or a beautiful Khmer woman in translucent shirt carrying a water jug. I paint portraitures of feelings, often in dark colors, experiences and significant events in my life.”

Chath is a self-taught artist, poet, writer, social worker and activist. In all of it he is true to his vision and honest about what he observes. In the faces of Cambodians he sees pain, frustration, happiness, confusion—bringing him back to his own experiences that he translates into wood, paper and paint.

Unexhibited Artworks


  • Affordable Art Fair 2011

    Dates: 17 Nov 2011 - 20 Nov 2011

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