Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Veteran photographer Lê Vượng won the Grand Prize at the annual Bùi Xuân Phái-For Love of Hà Nội Awards by Vietnam News Agency’s Thể Thao Văn Hóa (Sport & Culture) newsppaper yesterday.
Bùi Xuân Phái-for Love of Hà Nội Awards were launched in 2008. The awards are named after renowned painter Bùi Xuân Phái (1920-88) in honour of his career and aims to spread his love for Hà Nội. The awards are well respected and honour the contributions of individuals and organisations to society, culture and the arts in Hà Nội.
Ninety-eight-year-old Vượng is among the Việt Nam Museum of Fine Arts’s first employees. His photos, kept at the museum, are an invaluable resource.
“I will try my best to continue taking beautiful images of our country,” Vượng said.
Vượng engaged in photography after buying a camera for his trip around Indochina. He has kept his passion for taking pictures alive and has won many prizes, such as artistic title A and silver medal by the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), Bifota prize in Germany, second prize at a photo exhibition in the Soviet Union and ACCU prize in Japan.
“Vượng takes photos of old Hà Nội, recording moments in a very artistic manner,” poet Bằng Việt, chairman of the jury board at the award ceremony, said.
The jury includes history professor and Chairman of Việt Nam History Association Phan Huy Lê, Deputy General Director of Vietnam News Agency Ngô Hà Thái, Permanent Deputy Chairman of Việt Nam Journalists Association Hồ Quang Lợi and Deputy Chairman of Việt Nam Architects’ Association Hoàng Đạo Kính.
The jurors also presented the Idea Prize, the Job Prize and the Work Prize at the ceremony.
Hà Nội’s People’s Committee Chairman Nguyễn Đức Chung received the Idea Prize for his plan to beautify the city by growing one million new trees and building 25 new parks, five of which aim to meet international and regional standards.
“I thank late painter Bùi Xuân Phái’s family and the jury board for encouraging the people and the authorities of Hà Nội City,” Chung said.
“The idea to beautify Hà Nội City is to provide green areas to city dwellers. I promise to make the idea a reality.”
Work has already begun. The ground-breaking of the Kim Quy cultural, tourism and amusement park in Vĩnh Ngọc Commune in Hà Nội’s suburban district of Đông Anh was undertaken on September 2.
Covering more than 100ha, the park is inspired by the story of the Cổ Loa spiral-shaped citadel (now located in Đông Anh District of Hà Nội), which was built by King An Dương Vương in third century BC with the help of the legendary Golden Turtle God.
Most of the park will be covered by trees and lakes, making it a space for visitors to enjoy nature.
American James Joseph Kendall and his Keep Hanoi Clean group were awarded the Job Prize. Living in Việt Nam for the past three years, the 34-year-old English teacher from the Xuân La Primary School in Tây Hồ District observed many local environmental problems and came up with his project as an effort “to make people realise the need to protect the environment more”.
“I’m feeling happy. I want to thank everyone who donated their time and/or money to this project,” Kendall said.
“Without all of our supporters, the project wouldn’t be what it has become. I’m so grateful to have started this amazing movement and I’m not going to ever give up.
It’s true that my love for Hà Nội and Việt Nam are the driving forces that catapulted me into action. It’s my love for Hà Nội that keeps me going and it’s the love from Hà Nội that gives me hope for a brighter future,” he added.
Established in May, Keep Hanoi Clean has some 50 active members. Its activities take place throughout the week, including work days, so the project’s Facebook page calls for the participation of anyone who is concerned about the environment.
French singer and song-writer La Grande Sophie and fine arts researcher Phan Ngọc Khuê shared the Work Prize.
Starting her career in the 1990s, Sophie first experience fame in 2004 when her third album If It Were Me earned her the first Victoire de la Musique, one of the France’s major music awards.
She visited Việt Nam recently after she composed the song Hanoi where she sang about her attachment to the city.
Bruno Asseray, the French embassy’s cultural attache and the Cultural Centre’s director, received the award on behalf of the singer
Khuê won the award for his book Tranh Dân Gian Hàng Trống-Hà Nội (Hàng Trống-Hà Nội Folklore Painting).
The 600-page book with 476 paintings is the fruit of his 30-year career in research and collecting paintings. — VNS