|If you are looking at the cool art pieces of Morn Chear, you would see a talent, perseverance and a great storyline of his artworks, but what you couldn’t see behind his art pieces was an disabled artist who use his limbs and mouth to create such a work of art that no one would imagine was paint by an double hands amputee, artist Morn Chear. Som Kanika has an exclusive interview with the linocut block print artist.
GT2: In the past, you had no interest in art, but currently you are a print block artist many people know about. Can you narrate your journey and the life of being an artist?
Morn Chear: I was born in 1991, in a healthy condition and functional body, nothing in my health was wrong until I lost both of my hands by electrocution at a construction site.
It was an accident and it happened when I was 20. Normally, it is the phase of life that most people begin to enjoy their lives but for me, it was the beginning of misery and despair.
Back then I was still a young man and losing both of my hands made me fall into a great depression. It took many years to accept his new reality without the use of his hands. Although my life turned for a better once I met people from the organisation Epic Arts in 2015.
Epic Arts is an international inclusive arts organisation based in Cambodia and it is also a charity from the UK.
At Epic Arts, I was taught many skills including computer, English language as well as trained in performance such as contemporary dance, singing, drawing and painting and visual arts. I studied there until 2017 at which one point, I was given the opportunity to work at the organisation.
When I participated in the organisation, many people encouraged me and saved me from depression. I began to accept myself and do not think much about how other people would judge me. Instead, I put all of my effort on polishing my art skills as well as making a headway toward my passion.
GT2: Every artist draws different types of artworks, for Chear what does your artwork depict and why do you choose this type of art?
Morn Chear: My type of artwork is called linocut block print. Linocut is a rare technique artwork. I was given the opportunity to learn this technique at the Epic Arts Organisation.
The pictures I draw are a daily reflection of my life. From doing housework, to fixing my father’s shack and simply riding bikes, I want people to know how different and difficult it is for me when compared to others and through this, I also want people to be grateful for what they have.
GT2: You used to mention that besides meeting great people, why do you think your art gives you the privilege of saving your life?
Morn Chear: The reason that I say arts saved my life is because it allowed me to deliberate the misery and despair I have in my heart and created a moment for me to be vulnerable, accept the reality and live my life to its fullness.
When I become an amputee, I faced a lot of discrimination from people within my community. Sometime, the discrimination is made in the form of teasing and jokes but it somehow hurt my feeling a lot.
Sometimes people would just be teasing me by calling me Kombot, (meaning a derogatory word for an amputee), while some would show empathy by saying that my life is very pitiful and if this accident happened to them, they would have killed themselves. These kinds of words create an emotional misery in my life.
GT2: Even those who have a good physical condition sometimes complain about how hard drawing or carving is. For Chear, how did you undertake art?
Morn Chear: as a disabled person, you have to be creative in doing your artwork. For me, I use both limbs and mouth to draw with a pencil on a block of wood, using a chisel to carve on wood and using a roller to press ink on paper. Sometimes, it hurts my limbs a lot but as long as the outcome is satisfactory, it is enough for me.
For each artwork, I spend around 3 to 4 months just to finish one piece. Along the process, it costs me sweat and tears and I’m so grateful for those who see the value and the moral lesson in my artworks.
GT2: We know that there are many disabled people out there that are desperate and losing their purpose in life. For Morn Chear, do you want to share your messages for people who have had the same experience as you?
Morn Chear: I think it is inevitable to not feel misery for not having a good physical body like other people because this puts you in such a disadvantageous position compared to others.
Even though you are a disabled person, you have to believe that you can contribute a lot to society and still be able to live a good life if you choose to not let your whole life be decided by your outside appearance and other’s opinion.
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