An exhibition was held recently in Ha Noi by the Exhibition Centre of Fine Arts and Photography that featured 36 pieces by artists from Thailand, Malaysia and Viet Nam.
The exhibition was organised under an exchange and co-operation programme launched by the Viet Nam Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition, which aims to expand mutual understanding among artists in the ASEAN community.
Thai artist Lampu Kansanoh, 34, is one of the youngest artists to take part in the exhibition. Kansanoh, the Master of Fine Arts in paintings, has won many national awards in Thailand. She took part in the artist residence programme at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan in 2012. She was also one of the Thai artists to show in the fourth Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2009.
Four of her paintings at Ha Noi's exhibition were painted this year. The oil and acrylic on canvas paintings depict relationships between dogs and people.
Culture Vulture interviewed Kansanoh about her first time in Viet Nam and her field trip to Sapa with other artists under the exchange and co-operation programme.
When did you take the field trip to Sa Pa? Did you enjoy the trip?
I was in Sa Pa for four days and three nights. I finished the trip at the end of last December. I really enjoyed the trip with the other artists. We drank every day trying to stay warm. In Thailand, the weather is very hot, so I am not used to this cold weather.
What inspired you most when you were in Sa Pa?
We were painting there and visited some local artists' studios. We also travelled around Sa Pa and visited some villages and farms in the area. It was an incredible experience to visit Vietnamese artist Dang Tin Tuong, who is almost blind.
We visited his studio and saw many of his paintings. He paints almost completely from his imagination. His paintings show a very deep emotion.
I painted when I was in Sa Pa, but I really don't like it. I think the cold weather made me lazy. I painted outside for three hours and had to rush to finish the painting. I felt that I couldn't control the paint and let it dry long enough due to the humidity. All of Sa Pa was very foggy at that time. So the subject of my painting was a landscape – a building shrouded in fog.
I am inspired by the faces of local people and my Vietnamese friends who came with me. I have never been in such a different landscape that was completely white with fog. It was very exciting.
To what extent do you think the programme will enhance mutual understanding between artists in the ASEAN community?
Last July, I met Ngo Duong, director of the Exhibition Centre of Fine Arts and Photography, at the Visual Art for ASEAN camp in Nan, Thailand. At that time he invited me and two other Thai artists, Sumalee Ekachonniyom and Supaporn Chulaka, to join this programme in Viet Nam.
I think our countries and cultures are similar and we can understand each other's messages easily. Art is a way to show images of daily life that everyone can relate to, regardless of your country or culture. In the ASEAN community especially, we have many of the same basic values and ideas, so a programme like this can have a big impact.
Was it the first time you came to Viet Nam? What is your impression?
Yes, it was. This was my first time in Viet Nam. I was impressed by the motorbikes on the roads. There was so much honking. It's unusual to honk in Thailand unless it's a really serious situation.
But everyone was honking on the road to the point that I couldn't sleep at noon when I first arrived. I was amazed that the motorbikes were not afraid of big cars and trucks. I was also impressed by Vietnamese friends. They are really good friends, good people, and took good care of me and other artists. They are also funny, so now I have a lot of models for the next series of my work. — VNS