The Last Summer  
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  "The Last Summer", Amy M. Ho, 2017, Two channel video projection, mixed media, 108" x 75" x 216"  


The Last Summer is the third installation in the series and is in collaboration with artist Chanthon Bun.  When Bun was around eleven and twelve, he and his siblings and aunt and uncle (who were his age) built a fort in an empty lot next to his apartment complex. They used found materials - chicken wire, cardboard and a plastic mat, to build their fort. Inside the fort was an old box spring and comic books and at one point they even had a fishpond. Sunlight would stream in through holes in the ceiling. They would play inside the fort and chase each other around outside with bee-bee guns. There was an abandoned burned out building in the empty lot and on certain nights, Bun swears they would see the ghost of a Buddhist monk next to the building looking out into the sunset (he still gets goose bumps telling the story). The title of this collaboration, “The Last Summer”, refers to how that summer in the fort was the last summer before his cousins and relatives all started getting in trouble with the law and getting arrested.  


About Bun:
Chanthon Bun is a self-taught pen and ink artist. Bun fell in love with art when he realized it could allow him to express himself in non-verbal ways. Art has served as a way for Bun to understand himself and has played a strong role in his personal transformation. At San Quentin, Bun experimented with drawing, painting and sculpture. With the help of the art teachers at San Quentin, Bun has learned to express himself through multiple mediums. Bun is a Cambodian refugee and through art explores and processes the trauma he experienced as a child. Bun was released in 2020 admist the cornavirus pandemic and under threat of ICE detention.  

In Bun's Words:

Last Summer

Summer vacation, school’s out!

Most summers we just hung out around the apartment and played Nintendo, basketball or played at the park. This summer was different. The apartment next to ours was abandoned early that year. We often walked across it because on the other side was a loquat tree and cactus. We would go pick its fruit.

This summer we found a big slab of construction wiring. My older uncles and cousin told us that we could make a clubhouse. They rolled up the frame to make a tube and us kids scavenged material to cover it. We found cardboard boxes, bags, an old plastic woven mat, and rope. As we were building it, we kept on putting our own ideas into it and our uncles and cousin would help us. By dusk that day, we finished almost the whole thing. All we needed were the fish. We had to wait until the next day for the pet shop to open. Early the next day we started again at our clubhouse. It didn't take long to finish. We spent that summer playing in it and in the empty lot. I fell off the wall once or twice. We had the greatest time, reading comics, baseball cards, planning out which fruit tree to go pick next, playing war. At the end of the summer, the property owner had to clear the lot and clear our clubhouse also. My uncle got into trouble and I also was arrested. None of us have ever been together all at one time again. Until this day, I am the only one still missing in family photos.

I haven’t thought of this place and time since that summer. Thank you Amy.

                                                                                                                        - Chanthon Bun


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