In her room, a young woman embraces her digital platform, emerging as a creative artist. Her fingers glide over a tablet’s surface, conjuring colours and emotions on her digital canvas.
Bathed in the screen’s glow, she immerses herself in her artistic realm, crafting not just images but fragments of her soul. Each brushstroke and pixel stands as a testament to her talent, leaving a trail of beauty in her artistic journey.
At a mere 17 years of age, this budding artist hails from Battambang province, with her sights set on a future illuminated by digital artistry that represents Cambodia.
Sovann Malety, currently a Grade 11 student at Chea Sim Samaki High School in Phnom Penh, is a name you may want to remember.
“I’ve had a fondness for painting since childhood. What truly inspire me, without me realising it, are my father’s paintings,” Malety recalls.
The influence of her father, Phat Sophal, shaped her passion for the arts, nurturing a spirit that captivates and inspires.
In his cartoons, a wise rabbit takes centre stage, drawing from traditional Khmer folklore. Through YouTube videos, this clever character introduces young audiences to all 33 Khmer consonants in manageable batches.
Malety’s artistic journey commenced on paper when she was just 9 or 10 years old.
Beyond drawing, she delved into video editing, mastering Adobe Premiere and exploring subjects beyond her school curriculum.
Her education extended beyond the classroom, guided by her father, a former refugee camp resident who studied painting under a mentor.
He introduced her to a professional 3D computer graphics program, a crucial tool in her animation career.
This shift represented a transformation of her creative process.
Malety’s sketches and paintings, once limited to physical canvases, now had the potential of the digital realm at her fingertips.
“I could manipulate colours with precision, explore complex textures, and craft intricate designs, all while pushing the boundaries of my imagination,” Malety shared.
With each creation, Malety’s skills evolved and matured. She discovered techniques, experimented with styles, and embraced the versatility of her digital toolkit.
What began as paper sketches blossomed into a rich tapestry of digital artistry, where her creativity knew no bounds.
However, Malety’s artistic interests extend to photography, video art, and innovative creations, driven by love and affection for her craft.
Among her growing portfolio, which includes drawings and entertainment pieces, Malety’s favourite remains her 2021 digital painting, “Ben 1.”
In this piece, she captures a male character adorned in traditional costume during the Pchum Ben season.
These moments allow her to lose herself, engaging in endless soliloquies with her artistic muses.
Currently, Malety is engaged in various projects, collaborating with different companies.
Her creativity extends to graphic design for shirts and logos.
Beyond a job, it’s a labour of love that brings her immense happiness.
Through her artwork, she channels her imagination, finding solace in her photography and video recordings, embracing the opportunity to absorb knowledge from the world beyond her surroundings.
In an unexpected twist, Malety’s artistic journey veered into the 32nd SEA Games in Phnom Penh.
Typically known for her digital art, this young artist stepped behind the lens as a photographer, capturing moments of this prestigious sporting event.
“My keen eye and creative sensibilities allowed me to freeze in time the essence of the Games, highlighting the dedication and unity of athletes from across Southeast Asia,” said Malety.
Her photographic contributions added an artistic flair to the SEA Games, transforming her into an ambassador of Cambodian artistry on an international stage.
Balancing her passion with academic commitments isn’t always easy.
“Every time I go to work, there are some inevitable obstacles—obstacles born of work and constraints stemming from time, given that I have to juggle my studies and work, my schedule is often tight,” she confessed.
Yet, her dedication shines through.
“But I still enjoy it because every challenge that arises imparts new lessons and experiences, making me more capable and stronger,” she continued.
Malety’s mission is clear: she aspires to contribute to the growth of digital painting, showcasing fresh ideas and fostering the representation of Khmer art in the digital age.
She also seeks to amplify Cambodia’s identity on the global stage, using her talents as the brushstroke for this masterpiece.
Malety offered a message to aspiring young artists.
“I would like to encourage young men and women who have dreams—please start today, give yourself the opportunity to pursue what you love, discover your strengths, and strive for continuous improvement, sooner or later,” she said.
With her determination, passion, and talent, Malety is well on her way to becoming a luminary in the world of digital artistry, and Cambodia can be proud to call her one of their own.