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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Local artist Ovvian Castro Hill says that receiving Telus StoryHive funding and being selected as the winner for the Fort St. John Community Awards Art Competition has affirmed to her that she can still practice art in Canada.

Hill trained as a designer and received a degree in interior design from the University of the Philippines in 1993. She’s also already made her mark on the community, designing one of the four obelisks, located in Festival Plaza.

Hill began sculpting in 2003, after being taught by her father. According to her website, the time she spent in the studio with her father makes her prepared to execute his vision and designs.

Her work can be found in numerous places including Manila, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Canada.

Despite having an impressive professional and creative background, Hill says when she came to Fort St. John in 2011, she was unsure if she’d have the opportunity to continue creating her art.

“I was concentrating on being a stay-at-home mom. I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to utilize the skills that I used in my home country and do things that were rewarding to me,” Hill reflected.

She says that being able to express herself by participating in art shows and competitions that are offered in the Energetic City has validated to her that she can continue to create her works.

“I’m finding more of a wholeness of my person and enjoying staying here in Fort St. John,” Hill said

“It’s priceless because I think most immigrants when they come to Canada or, any immigrant moving to any other country for that matter, there’s always that sense of uncertainty of what their journey is going to be like,” Hill explained.

Hill aims to highlight a diverse set of voices within the Filipino community in Fort St. John in her upcoming project, one she says is partially inspired by her love of journalism and storytelling.

“I ended up going to university as a journalism major and after a year of doing that, I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I would. So I shifted to interior design. So I ended up with a degree in interior design, but in the back of my head, I always wanted to go into filmmaking,” Hill said

“About a year before coming to Canada as a tourist, I did take a certificate course at my university to do documentary filmmaking. So in other words, this has always been an interest,” Hill continued.

She hopes that her project will shed light on the experience that immigrants have when they relocate to communities such as Fort St. John and the contributions immigrants make to their communities.

“We all have our place here in Fort St. John. We all have our roles that only we can best play, not just in Fort St. John, but in the whole world,” Hill said.

Hill is also a author, writing for such publications as The Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Manila Bulletin. She has previously written her own book titled “GODDESS IN THE MIRROR: A Book of Self-Discovery for the Filipino Woman the World Over”

To learn more or to view Hill’s works, visit her website here.

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