While usually found handling medical instruments in class, sophomore nursing student Hour Soben has now armed himself with his paintbrush, turning his hobby into a collection of paintings that are set make up his first solo exhibition this coming November.
Soben is a rising artist who has decided to not compromise on either of his passions and become both a nurse and an artist. And he sees commonalities between the two areas, in so far as they both help heal people around the world.
Siem Reap province-born Soben had combined his studies in nursing at the University of Health Sciences in Phnom Penh with attending art classes in his spare time.
“I did attend art classes with Colours of Cambodia in my province for a short time. But I think I have learned much more than others as art has been my favorite hobby since I was a child and I’m constantly drawing on my own,” the 21-year-old said.
“I also study nursing, but my studies have nothing to do with being an artist. I love drawing as I can express my imagination. With my talent I can convert this to art. Talent is one thing, but if I’m lazy, my talent can’t help.”
Soben’s first solo exhibition will be held in Phnom Penh at the KBach Gallery, but he also has exhibitions scheduled abroad next year.
“I’m very excited to have opportunity to raise my art to a higher level with the international exposure I will receive at KBach Gallery in my first solo show later this year. I’m also excited about my first international exhibition in Hong Kong early next year,” he said.
“We never know what the future holds. But at the moment I’m very happy to be able to enjoy my life combining my passion for art and nursing.”
The painter won the KBach Artist Competition 2018, and along with it a $1,000 cash prize.
“Winning that competition was very encouraging for me. I’ve been working on more painting for my first solo exhibition in November. Most of my previous work portrays the legacy of Princess Jayarajadev, the first wife of King Jayavarman VII and the sister Indradevi,” he said.
The Happy Mermaid is another one of Soben’s favourite pieces.
“She was the most beautiful mermaid in the ocean and she got so much love from everybody. Her smile was precious to everyone and her love was brighter than the sun. I used the colour red to represent her love, as bright as the sun, blue to represent her kindness, as cold as the ocean, and light green to represent how life depends on light and water to thrive,” he said.
Soben is currently working on 12 acrylic canvas paintings, and he also has longer-term aspirations to combine his two passions in health and art.
“After I finish at nursing school, I’ll pursue my studies in any tailor made course that combines art with health,” he said.