The Ha Noi Art Market at Hang Da Galleria, the first of its kind in Viet Nam, displayed work by 70 artists in the city. About 65 works were sold.
Organiser Nguyen Hong Phuong was in the top eight finalists for the Danish Culture and Development Exchange Fund's Young Talent Prize in 2010. He talks with Culture Vulture about his plan to make the market an annual event.
What was the art market like?
Actually, it looked like the markets held weekly by ethnic people in remote and mountainous areas. I took advantage of painting trips to mountainous provinces to visit these markets.
When we talk about art markets, we usually refer to models in developed countries. The Ha Noi Art Market reflects the spirit of a Vietnamese traditional market.
Simply, the Ha Noi Art Market was set up for ordinary customers. They had the chance to see and buy paintings, statues and handicrafts.
How did you get the idea to set up the market?
Art markets are popular in the world but not in Viet Nam. It is time to organise such markets for both Vietnamese artists and fine arts lovers.
I always wonder where a middle-class customer can buy an art product to decorate his house or present to his friends. It is very difficult to answer this question.
The art market meets the demand of our developing society as well as the individual demands of artists and their clients.
It is necessary to bring fine arts closer to the public. Fine arts products are not only for museums and luxurious galleries.
How did customers and artists benefit from the Ha Noi Art Market?
Both artists and art lovers benefited. The market was a place for art lovers of different ages to meet and talk with artists. The art lovers bought the original works with the artists' signature. The artists had the chance to introduce their work directly to customers.
The art market helped change perceptions about art. Most young artists depend on galleries. This limits them and doesn't promote art development.
How did you get support from the 70 artists who attended the first market?
Actually, I want more artists to have the chance to join the market. I have had projects related to many young artists. They supported me when I introduced the project.
However, there were many difficulties when it came to organisation. At the beginning, the young artists hesitated to bring their works to the public. They don't have the habit of popularising their art by themselves.
They are veteran and emerging artists of different ages, including 60-year-old Tran Binh and 22-year-old Le Tien Khanh..
Infrastructure preparation was also difficult. I want to thank Hang Da Galleria management board for allowing us to use the second and third floors at Hang Da Galleria for free.
What results do you expect from the Ha Noi Art Market?
I would like to help emerging artists and encourage them to utilise their creativity. I could not invite artists living in the south this time. I hope to organise the art market annually. — VNS