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Channy Chhoeun Art Studio - My Indie World

Channy Chhoeun Art Studio


Channy Chhoeun Art Studio

Play • Siem Reap • Owner: Channy Chhoeun

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Channy Chhoeun Art Studio Tour
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Made With Love

Born 1988, Battambang, Cambodia In 1998, Channy’s upbringing was marked by the aftermath of the civil war, during which artists and musicians suffered greatly, and his father, a former drummer and singer, had to adapt to a new livelihood as a farmer. The family faced challenges when they were relocated to a remote jungle area with no access to basic amenities, surviving in makeshift shelters and battling the dangers of wild animals and landmines.The move was part of a government scheme to give underprivileged families land so they could farm for a living.

Channy’s father, Chhoen and his mother, Savi.

Despite the hardships, Channy’s determination led him to attend a makeshift school and later a cement school, while also supporting the family by working as a cow keeper and selling ice cream during school holidays. Channy knows it may be difficult for some to imagine his experience as a child, sleeping outside, seeking shelter under trees and always on the lookout for precious food and water. Simply put, it was a struggle to stay alive.

As a young boy, Channy’s sketchbook was the dirt he walked on, while his tool was a stick to draw with. Drawing allowed Channy to escape to another reality. This creative freedom not only gave him a feeling of happiness, but people also began noticing his artistic skills. Teachers in the village often praised his artwork, but it was his father who recognized his talent and passion, allowing him to join Phare Ponleu Selpak school of the arts.

Channy was enrolled in 2006; he graduated in 2013. Channy never imagined being an artist professionally. He once said that he never thought he could do anything in his life other than “follow cows”. Channy now lives in Siem Reap. He is very happy to share his story and show his work to visitors at his home art studio and gallery.

Fuelled With Passion

Channy’s paintings are beautiful at one glance but as you look at them longer, you will understand the numerous messages they are conveying,” -Nou Sary

Not always able to find the right words to express his feelings, Channy turns to his art to say what words cannot. He was first guided in this form of art therapy at Phare Ponleu Selpak non-profit school. The process is beautiful and expressive while also being therapeutic.

Channy will also confess that he was not all that kind to wildlife when growing up in the jungle. Most people will first see in his work the beautifully detailed, colorful birds and other wildlife, but closer examination reveals an underlying message of their struggle against human influence and environmental degredation. He feels his work is a kind of atonement.

His art mainly focuses on birds, for which he has a passion, but also on the impact of humans on the environment, inspired by and mixed with religious symbolism and iconography.

Channy’s grandmother, Pha,  in front of the family house in Toolveang, with a drawing a portrait her by Channy in Siem Reap.

Driven by Purpose

Channy is very passionate about helping others through art therapy and educating society on the negative impacts we have on nature. When Channy was still at Phare Ponleu Selpak school, he conducted art therapy workshops in the Battambang prison. He knew it was helping, but it really impacted him when one of the families showered him with gifts and gratitude for helping their son.

It is one of Channy’s greatest wishes to inspire Cambodian youth today to become more interested in arts and culture. He often welcomes those who wish to learn to his studio and coaches them for free. Channy hopes that the messages in his work resonate with society for positive change.

Channy immersed himself in Open Studio Cambodia, sharing his love and passion while witnessing the blossoming of other Cambodian creativity.