Nostalgia draws artist back to her roots
Emotional exposure: Painter Maj Trang poses next to her art at the Dreams exhibition. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
HA NOI — Nostalgia for Ha Noi urged Vietnamese-Swedish painter Maj Trang Fredriksson to return to her birthplace and showcase her artwork at an on-going exhibition in the capital city.
Entitled Dreams, the exhibition includes more than 30 oil and water-colour paintings on the theme of natural landscapes and people.
According to the painter one's dreams are often capable of changing the impossible into possible.
"My dream has been an exhibition in Ha Noi, where some of the sweetest memories of my life are kept," Trang explained.
Daughter of revolutionary painter Hong Van, famous for work depicting President Ho Chi Minh, Trang could do little but inherit the "artistic gene". Having done odd jobs for many years, she finally became a full-time artist in 2003 with the support of her elder brother, painter and sculptor Nguyen Van Thuyet, some of whose works are also on display at the Dreams show.
Settling down in the Swedish city of Orebro in 1990, Trang used to work in the printing industry, importing embroidery products which she designed herself with a mix of Swedish and Vietnamese styles.
With her life strewn with various ups and downs, she said that she finally found herself in painting.
"Painting helps me expose the emotions and thoughts which I often struggle to put into words. I always feel as if I can fly in my painting dreams," Trang said.
The painter is most fond of capturing beautiful landscapes, portraits, still-lives and abstract subjects, exploring the mysteries of both nature and the universe within and outside of Viet Nam.
"The amount of contrast in her work is very interesting. Subjects such as day and night, storm and calm as well as Europe and Hoan Kiem Lake are often juxtaposed opposite each other," said Tom Bowen, a foreign visitor to the exhibit.
Veteran painter Bang Lam, a member of the directorial board of the Viet Nam Fine Arts' Association, said he was very impressed by the Western fantasy-style paintings based on Ha Noi.
Painting critic Mai Thi Ngoc Oanh said: "It felt like you could touch her sorrow and joy via the honest and broad brush strokes. Having had no formal training, her style has remained free of regulation."
"Besides the chance to express my love for Ha Noi, I love the feedback in that it helps me take my career to the next level," Trang said.
The 56-year-old artist has had the fortune of having her work displayed in both Sweden and Italy.
The Dreams exhibit will be opened to the public until next Friday at the Fine Arts Exhibition House, 16 Ngo Quyen Street, before moving to Tan My Design, 61 Hang Gai Street, Ha Noi. — VNS