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Architect and Artist: Yav Socchea
Watt Munisotaram has been lucky to have its own architect, Yav Socchea, as a part of the community. Yav, who speaks little English, has been in the United States since 2002, when the construction of the new temple began. He was trained as an architect in Cambodia and was sought out by the head monk of Watt Munisotaram to come build help construct temple, and has been with the Watt ever since. The temple’s beautiful architecture and fine engraving has earned it much acclaim by those who visit. Yav has taught himself how to single-handedly create many of the various artistic and architectural pieces required to construct and decorate the main temple, the stupa, the community center, and the reflection pond. “All [I] brought back from Cambodia was [my] knowledge and experience,” he says. “Everything that is here [in Minnesota] I am able to improvise with,” he states. “It’s a lot of creativity and improvising in that aspect,” Yav continues. Overall, Yav feels “very happy and very satisfied” with what he has created here.
All [I] brought back from Cambodia was [my] knowledge and experience. Everything that is here [in Minnesota] I am able to improvise with.
Many commuity members at the Watt are also very satisfied and impressed with the work Yav has been able to accomplish. Ven. Vicheth Chum believes that Yav's architectural and artistics efforts are responsible for transforming the Watt Munisotaram campus into a uniquely beautiful and spiritual space.