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YOU KHIN (1947 - 2009)

Collection Overview | Biography | Chronology | Images | Press

You Khin - Chronology

You Khin was born to farmers in a village along the Mekong River on March 2, 1947 in the Kampong Cham province of Cambodia. He was the last of seven children.

You Khin graduated and got a scholarship from the French Government to study in France.

Khin's time in France: September 1973 - February 1977 and attended Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Luminy, Marseilles, where he studied 3D decoration. During his time in France, painted mostly portraits (sometimes commissioned), Cambodian dancers, urban and rural landscapes of Marseilles and surrounding environs.

He won first prize in graphic design in a nationwide competition organized by the French Ministry of Culture for a road sign to indicate historic sites in France. He married Muoy You on June 14,1975.
It was a troubled time in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge had taken power, emptied cities and towns and sealed the borders.

In February 1977, he went to Sudan where his wife got a job at the University of Khartoum teaching French. They had a 14 month old son, Setthivoine.

Khin and his wife's time in Sudan: February 1977 - June 1979
Khin worked as an architect in Khartoum. He continued to paint and exhibited at private homes, The French Cultural Center and Hilton Hotel.

His second son, Tiesda, was born in April.

In September, he started a job in the Ivory Coast.

September 1979-August 1980, You Khin was the architect for a public institition (AVB) in Bouake, Ivory Coast.

September 1980-June 1981, You Khin was the architect for AVB in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast.
In August Khin and his wife, Muoy traveled to a refugee camp Thailand to bring Muoy's sister and brother-in-law to France. It was then, they heard first-hand what had happened inside Khmer Rouge Cambodia.

In September, Khin got a job in Qatar.

Between September 1981 - June 1999 You Khin was the architect with the Ministry of Education of Qatar.
The Khmer Rouge was ousted from power but there was still no peace and Khin was still locked out of his country. Padlocks were everywhere in Khin's paintings as a reminder that for certain people, freedom was hard to come by.
In Qatar the conflict of the cold war was reflected by the red and blue that fought in his work. Khin turned his attention again to the humble workers - bakers, boat builders, public writers etc. - and to Arab women whose mysterious life he imagined full of dreams and temptations. Black, intense blue and patches of white dominated this series.

His daughter was born in France in the summer of 1982.

His youngest son was born in Qatar in 1985.

In September, Khin left Qatar for England. He settled in Twickenham just outside London.

Time in London: September 1999 - September 2004
He made friends with local artists, especially an Indian born artist, Mali, whose conversation inspired him in the use of strings on his canvas. During his time in London, Khin participated in several exhibitions and had a solo show at the Riverside Gallery in Richmond upon Thames. It was at this time that women became his main theme.

His wife, Muoy went back to Cambodia.

Khin joined his wife in Cambodia, this is where he will reside until his death in August 2009.
During this period strings invaded his canvases to reflect the corruption and materialism that had bounded Cambodian society.