Meet the fellows

CHHAN Dina, Visual Artist

Dina was born in 1984 and currently lives in Phnom Penh. She works in a range of media including painting and sculpture. Her recent work is largely abstract, dealing with themes of life, music and everyday activities.  

She also teaches visual art in a number of orphanages and the International School Phnom Penh. For a duration Dina lived in a refugee camp in Poipet, and her experiences still influence her work.. She participated in the UN mine action program in Cambodia, visiting the most mine-affected provinces to observe how Cambodia is addressing the explosive remnants of war. She presented her interpretation of the issues through sophisticated sculpture.

Dina plans to continue making dynamic and engaging works of art, and hopes to open a workshop and gallery in Phnom Penh.

HUOT Dara: CEO of Phare Performing Social Enterprise

Dara leads and manages Phare Performing Social Enterprise (PPSE) in its mission of supporting Phare Ponleu Selpak school, providing professional opportunities for Cambodian youth and revitalizing arts in Cambodia. PPSE operates Phare, The Cambodian Circus which has nightly performances in Siem Reap, and Phare Productions International, which produces private performances in Cambodia and around the world.

Dara was a student at Phare Ponleu Selpak in 2001. He was later an interpreter at Phare and joined the first group of performing artists on awareness theater/circus performance tours to educate rural Cambodian populations on landmines, malaria, dengue fever and other public health and safety issues.

Dara has a keen interest in business and personal development and entrepreneurship. His dream is to develop a reputable and internationally recognized Cambodian brand.

KOR Borin, Head of Cultural Department, Institut Français du Cambodge

Borin has worked at the Institut Français du Cambodge for the past 18 years.  He has been in his current role, Head of the Cultural Department, since 2006 and is responsible for the Institut’s cultural programming, coordinating a range of exhibitions, shows, conferences, cinema screenings, and festivals.

Previously, he worked in roles including cultural programming and communication, press attaché, and cultural animateur at the Centre Culturel Français, which later became the Institut Français. He has also worked in publishing, as a translator for UNHCR, and as a cultural guide on the European tours of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia and the National Theater of Cambodia.

He would like to stay working at the Institut Français, as this position allows him to curate a range of interesting and valuable cultural activities for people living in Phnom Penh.

Hélène VEAL, Founder, SAMAY.TV

Hélène launched the first Cambodian internet TV channel, SAMAY.TV, with the mission of delivering entertaining, useful, and meaningful programs that both inspire people and broaden their knowledge. Her background is in press and communication; working as a press attaché in Paris before joining an IT company outsourcing to Cambodia. She later launched a communications agency based in Paris with a technical team in Phnom Penh. At the age of 36 she returned to school to study Audiovisual Production, and worked at France television before deciding to return to Cambodia to launch SAMAY.TV.

Her ambition for SAMAY.TV is to make it the first platform that promotes Cambodian video content, including culture and arts programming. She wants to create a platform that is trusted by her audience, and by local producers and sponsors.

2015 Fellows

CHEA SOPHEAP, Cultural Manager

Sopheap is a historian, who from a young age was curious about stories of life in Cambodia before he was born. That curiosity is what led him to Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre, initially as an Archivist and today as Deputy Director.

Sopheap has worked with Bophana for over a decade and as his career has developed, his work has been increasingly linked to arts and culture; he has produced cultural events, run film festivals, installed exhibitions and used the resources of Bophana to form links and networks between people in the sector. In 2013, he was selected as a Fellow during Season of Cambodia, spending a month in New York City building professional networks and exploring art practice in a new context.

His passion for inter-generational transmission of stories remains strong, and through Bophana’s work in the film sector, he is committed to sharing memory from one generation to another. During the Fellowship, Sopheap will explore the role of arts in telling stories about society, particularly looking at film and its unique storytelling abilities.

HUN PEN, Dancer and Arts Manager

Pen is a classically trained dancer and choreographer, who for the last decade has also been actively engaged in contemporary dance. She is very interested in the development of contemporary dance in Cambodia, and during the Fellowship will explore issues of contemporary dance and its relationship to Cambodia in the wider Asian context. As a dancer she has performed extensively both nationally and internationally, as well as being engaged in lectures, panels and conferences.

She is also an experienced arts manager, having held various leadership and production roles, from Festival Director to project manager and NGO liaison for the Ministry of Culture. Currently, Pen is Deputy Director of the Department of Performing Arts in the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

ONN SOKNY, Arts Manager

Sokny’s career in the arts began the moment she participated in a community arts workshop in her hometown and was immediately inspired by the transformative power of art to build confidence, expression and social cohesion. After the workshop, Sokny joined the organisation that had run that workshop, beginning as an administrator and rapidly progressing to a programming, then a production role, touring work nationally and internationally. Today, Sokny is the Senior Manager of that organisation, Epic Arts.

Sokny has a strong vision for the future of Cambodian arts, and sees culture as an essential tool for the development of the country. She is interested in the systems and structures that support the development of the arts sector, particularly in the respective roles of government and civil society in that process. 

SO PHINA, Writer and Poet

Phina leads ‘Women Writers Cambodia’, a charter of PEN Cambodia and recently spoke on the topic of Women Writers in Cambodia, at the Cambodia Book Fair, 2014. In 2015, Phina and five other female authors will self-publish an anthology of short stories, “Crush Collection”. She also encourages women to write, via her personal blog, During the Fellowship, Phina intends to continue her historical and philosophical enquiries into the role of female writing in Cambodia.

Phina is also full-time researcher at the Cambodia Development Resource Institute. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and has a strong background in social work and social development in both Australia and Cambodia.

SAN PHALLA, Researcher

Coming from a family of artists, Phalla himself trained as a painter but has worked as a researcher across many artistic disciplines. He has written, edited and published articles and books on topics from mural painting, to classical dance and Buddhist culture. He remains interested in visual representation and the power of images in creating myths and will continue to explore these themes during his Fellowship.

Phalla is currently the Deputy Director of the Department of Books & Reading at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.