by Minh Thu
|An exhibition showcasing the diverse cultures of the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) is now on at the Culture and Art Exhibition Centre in Ha Noi as part of an on-going festival celebrating the region. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
|Highland living: The unique culture of the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) is in the spotlight at the Culture and Art Exhibition Centre in Ha Noi. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
HA NOI — The preservation and development of the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) cultural features must respect principles of diversity, said Luong Hong Quang, deputy head of the Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies.
Speaking at a one-day workshop on preserving and developing unique cultural values of the region in Ha Noi yesterday, Quang stressed it was necessary to consider factors of tradition, modernity and nationality and that people should not see ethnic group cultures as closed and unchanged entities.
"We need to identify and inventory cultural genres and performances of ethnic minority groups, artisans and regions to assess their actual state and have proper preservation measures in place," Quang said.
He added that these should be done scientifically with the participation of local people, while cultural heritages should be divided into three categories: tangible, intangible and artisan.
Quang's statement that preservation should take local people's livelihood into consideration was shared by other participants.
"The restoration and conservation of traditional crafts of the ethnic groups is not so hard," said composer Linh Nga Niek Dam, a Tay Nguyen culture researcher.
"The point is how to find markets for the handicrafts and improve the craftsmen's living standards from these products."
Damherself was involved in a project of training brocade embroiders and bamboo and rattan knitters among the Mo Nong people in Dak Nong Province.
As a result of the project, the local products increased both in quantity and quality and were popular souvenirs for tourists to the region.
Ksor Phuong, a Chu Ru from Lam Dong Province, said she made pottery whenever she had free time, however, selling the pottery didn't bring her as much money as farming did.
All adults in her village knew how to make pottery but the trade didn't help them earn a living, they had to work in other fields to guarantee their lives.
"Pottery made by the Chu Ru is of good quality but the forms and colours are not diversified like other products sold in the market," she said.
Although making pottery is Chu Ru's secondary job, Phuong said she believed it played an important role in people's cultural life.
"We love using products made by ourselves and we always make pottery to give to each other on special occasions," she said.
Nguyen Van Hanh, vice director of the Gia Lai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said protecting traditional handicraft was necessary to protect the Central Highlands culture.
"The authorities should create good conditions for people to develop their traditional trades, especially to find markets for their products," he said.
The workshop is part of the on-going festival of the Central Highlands culture which opened on Tuesday night with a performance of 300 artists and people.
"The festival will enhance mutual understanding and solidarity between ethnic groups and encourange them to respect cultural values," said Ho Anh Tuan, vice minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry.
The event also created a chance for the ethnic people in the Central Highlands to exchange with each other. It was good to see people from different groups meet and talk closely like they were old friends.
For Touneh Nairem, a 21-year-old Chu Ru girl from Lam Dong, it was the first time she had come to Ha Noi. She was one of 12 to perform Chu Ru religious rituals and folk dances.
"We performed Aria, the popular dance in festivals of the Chu Ru, at the opening ceremony," she said.
"This is the first time we have had a chance to perform in front of so many people."
"Attending the event and exchanging with other ethnic people, I realise many similarities and differences between the Chu Ru and other groups," she said, "I talk with them and have a feeling that we are close friends."
Nairem visited the exhibition space of her area and felt proud and excited at the cultural values introduced.
"The exhibition expresses exactly our identity and values," she said. "This is a good opportunity to introduce ourselves to others. I think people of other groups have the same opinion."
The event will be held until Saturday at the Culture and Art Exhibition Centre, 2 Hoa Lu Street, Ha Noi. Entry is free. — VNS