Thoun Siv was born in the mid 1950’s in Battambang, Cambodia. He currently lives in Easthampton, MA. As child of farmers, he herded bulls and took care of other animals. At the age of 10, his farming community taught him how to make fish traps using twigs and bamboo and cooking spoons from coconut and wood grasped by ropes. At age 15, his father taught him how to make an oxcart becoming the youngest oxcart builder in the village.
He was able to use these skills in making oxcarts as a labor prisoner to survive the Khmer Rouge regime in the mid to late 1970s. After he escaped from the Khmer Rouge regime to the Thai/Cambodian border refugee camp, Khao-I-Dang, he began to make miniature oxcart to occupy time. During this time, he learned from other refugee community craftsmen how to carve a portrait of an Apsara deity but did not complete it until he arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s.
His art is not something done for a living but as a hobby to occupying time during his time in the refugee camp but since he became a resident of the U.S., he has not had much time or finances to purchase the necessary materials nor access to materials, such as bamboo, are easy to find in the area.