sepia historical photograph of men sawing a log in a deforestated forest


× blog shorts journalism Author's Image about

Taking Dany Pen’s Pulse

from Toronto’s Regent Park Projects to Bermuda’s Biennale

A little after high noon, Dany Pen and I tuck away to Maria’s Ristorante, Chancery Lane’s discreet, cobblestone meeting place for politicians and businessmen. We are neither. Cambodian, Canadian, “hood” Ms. Pen is all of these things. She is full, red lips and a leopard skin sweater, huge gold hoops and fine art. Dany has taken a break from her job coordinating the National Gallery’s youth education program to talk with me about how she has come to be an expat, an immigrant, and an artist; how she came to create art that through merges her personal histories of genocide, poverty, and displacement.

Meet Dany Pen: artist.

Meet the stark,photographic installations of her family and other Cambodian Khmer Rouge survivors that won her a place in Bermuda’s 2012 Biennale. Find out why she creates art that acts as umbilical cords to her community and family, always questioning what it takes to maintain – or even achieve – a sense of self amidst disconnection...
Installation artist Dany Pen: laughing Cambodian
Photo Credit: Dany Pen

Blog Posts

Reading, Languages, Learning & Travel


I grew up under the awning of my mother's literary sensibility. In our house, bookshelves sagged, exhausted from holding up collections of poetry and English classics, psychology texts, dictionaries and encyclopedias. Despite (+ because of!) the technological zeitgeist, I continue to read:
  • for communion with wise, sentient thinkers across time, space, + ideological borders
  • to explore the human condition, or to 'travel' to different locales, communities + cultures
  • for guidance on how to live my life
  • to have a repose from our fast-paced, soulless, and stressful culture
  • My reading reflects these aims. Book summaries, reviews, and reflections here.


The trials, tribulations and, perhaps, the occasional triumph; and, occasionally, thoughts about the law :)


When it comes to languages, my eyes are, as they say, bigger than my stomach. Or perhaps, in this case, my brain. I have a long list of languages I'd like to learn to various degrees of proficiency, but you can follow my (lamentable) progress learning Czech and Spanish.


My mother's first career was as a mental health nurse; later she became the Director of the National Drug Commission. Some of my earlier memories are of her studies, and the heavy tomes on psychology and cognitive science scattered about the apartment. I was still in elementary school when, amidst Luft and Ingham and Abraham Malsow, I encountered my first favorite word...self-actualization. This concept became a lighthouse. In pursuit of this ideal, I think + read a lot about education: autodidactism, informal + formal, holistic + academic. Stray thoughts here.


YTT 200 Certified Yoga Teacher, trained under the incredible Michael Watson. From time to time, I'll share my yoga sequences and reflections on my yoga & general somatic practice.



The Innovative Homegrown Genre Fusing Traditional Gombey Drums With Cutting Edge Electronic Production

How to Make a Genre...

Pinning down an exact history for an underground movement is difficult. At times the project has been referred to as “Gombase” or “Gombass,” depending on whether you speak to one producer or the other, and when. An ad by local tourism campaign #morepinkBermuda featured Gumbase, the innovative genre by producers Derek Simmons and DJ Jussa Jus (aka Kofi/Justin Whitter). Through Gumbase, our celebrated drum rhythms cross-over from being an occasional street-based sonic treat to a year round, indoor, multi mood, multi purpose genre, making Gumbase a musical/cultural project worth listening to.

“It wasn’t about just doing one track each," Simmons says. "It’s about creating a movement, so people can be inspired to embrace Bermudian culture with new age music. There are not many people embracing Bermudian culture in music. It’s people embracing other cultures, or what [they] see on TV."


heal long / crank slow

[If] a broken man melts
into his sister, surround him:
rob him of his stiff self
fish the concrete
for a fresh joy that may kill or blind or free him...


...Where peace is a precondition for prosperity, to disturb the peace is verboten. Petty crime or protest? We don’t distinguish between them. It’s our unscrutinized status quo.


- who would I have been
Had you been who you were supposed to be?


see now how we compare shadows
laughing inside the funnel we dug
not a trench, nor a coffin...