Sopheap Pich ( Khmer : ពេជ្យ សោភា, born in 1971 in Cambodia ) is a Cambodian American contemporary artist . His sculptures utilize traditional Cambodian materials, which reflect the history of the nation and the artist's relation to his identity. Sopheap Pich was born in Battambang, Cambodia (then known as the Khmer Republic ) in 1971. He spent his childhood there until 1984, when he moved at age 13 to the United States of America. In 7th grade in the U.S., he enrolled into a school with a classroom setting and a teacher for the first time. He continued with his education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst , and in 2002 got his MFA at School of the Art Institute of Chicago In 2002, he returned to Cambodia, to the same place he had evacuated from in formative years because of the refugee crisis. Pich's trip back home renewed and reunited him with his cultural identity, which impacts his artwork. He uses local material mostly found in Cambodia, for example, bamboo. Pich creates a wide range of different of works from sculptures to paints. His sculptures are usually quite large, and some are high enough to touch the top of an art gallery's ceiling. Many of his first creations were destroyed and recycled because there was no place to store them. He has many of the only rare photographs of this first works Pich's style aims to be non-autobiographical, but he embraces the materials from his native country to depict its past. Trained as a painter, Pich later experimented with sculpting, and manipulating materials. He realized that sculpture was a way to be physically intimate with his environment. He manipulates his materials through boiling, cutting, bending, burning and dying. He let's the materials mostly speak for themselves, with no hidden narrative. His pieces are very environmental, and inexpensive looking. They are meant to look as though the time put in was worth more than the monetary value of the materials themselves.