Studio Printmakers' Collective


Kheang Ov

Born in Cambodia 1975 in Battambang, I came to NZ as a refugee with my parents and younger brother in 1981.

My memory of Cambodia is only based on stories that were told by my mum and family members. At the age of 6 my first memory was being in a refugee camp in Mangere, Auckland. After 1 year of induction, we arrived in Dunedin to commence our new life. It was by far more stressful for my parents, not being accustomed to the food, weather and culture. My parents like many refugee parents worked incredibly hard to ensure we had food, a house, excellent education and a future in NZ. What is real and what is dreamt?

I label myself as Cambodian Chinese who speaks Teochew with my parents, Grandmother, Aunts and Uncles.

To add to the confusion my Grandad and cousins speak Khmer and English. Often my words are a mixture of Teochew, Khmer and English, connecting and dis-connecting fluency. From 6 years onwards English was the main language for my brother and I. Does this enrich one’s identity? Or does it affect one’s identity?
“My work explores the idea of discovering and re-discovering the familiar and un-familiar. My goal is not to unearth specific answers or memories but to bring about a journey of co-discovery which enhances the integration, of thought, feeling and selfhood.”
My medium of choice revolves around woodcuts, the action of cutting and the way marks are produced is unique. It is expressive, gentle, yet dynamic and personal. Each cut tells a story with every layer as a partnership to communicate as a visual language.