Kosal Khiev

 is a poet, tattoo artist, and survivor of the US prison system.  Born in a Thai refugee camp, Kosal’s family fled to the U.S in 1981. At age 16, Kosal was arrested in a gang fight, charged with attempted murder, then sentenced to 16 years. While in prison, spoken word became his creative channel to tell his own story and transform his anger, regrets, and experiences into a poetic art form. In 2011, the U.S. government deported him to Cambodia, a country he had never been. Kosal lives as an exiled American in Phnom Penh where he continues to share his compelling story and art at open mics, universities, and public stages. Kosal is the first resident artist with Studio Revolt, a new media lab based in Phnom Penh, where he is developing “Verses in Exile,” a series of short films featuring his poetry.