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Artist puts dó paper paintings back on the map

Update: October, 20/2016 - 09:00
Day to day: Lự Ethnic Girl - Lai Châu painting at size 40cm by 60cm
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Vũ Thái Bình is confident showcasing his skills with  (poonah) paper at a painting exhibition in Hà Nội’s Old Quarter Culture Exchange Centre that began yesterday.

The Colour of Dó exhibition displays nearly 50 artworks on  paper inspired by the artist’s journeys in the north of Việt Nam over the last three years. 

"It is my first solo exhibition in Hà Nội and marks a milestone in my career with traditional  paper," Bình said.

A graduate from the Hà Nội Academy of Theatre and Cinema’s Fine Arts Department, Bình has achieved success in oil and acrylic painting. He studied  paper in 2013 while identifying his own style and was fascinated by the traditional material. 

" is not a new material, but it has not captivated artists like silk and oil do for a long time. Now though, modern artists are using  paper because of the material’s durability," Bình said. 

"The more I work with  paper, the more I feel the material suits me. I was charmed by the colour and material of  paper, which is an artwork itself."

Unlike other artists who use pastel, acrylic and Chinese ink to paint on  paper, Bình uses water colours because he feels there is a harmony between dó and water colours. 

"It is very difficult to paint with water colours as the artist can’t make changes. Before using the brush I need to think carefully." 

 paper has long been used to paint or write, as seen in renowned Đông Hồ folklore paintings, calligraphy and documents from past dynasties and family annals. 

paper comes from the bark of the poonah tree in northern provinces such as Yên Bái, Lào Cai, Thái Nguyên and Cao Bằng. 

It takes several complicated and precise processes to make  paper, and these include selecting the material, soaking it in water, pounding and flattening poonah pulp into paper and drying it inside the house. 

The Colour of Dó will depict moments from ordinary life for viewers, focusing on landscape and portrait. The paintings are sized 40cm by 60cm, a popular  paper size. 

The exhibition’s highlight is the painting Hoa Đá (Stone Flower), which is the largest at 55cm by 130cm. It features a Mông ethnic girl standing at Đồng Văn stone plateau.

"It is not convenient to paint on large  paper because the thin material can tear easily," Bình said.

The mountainous landscapes in The Ten Village, Điện Biên, The Poom Coong Village and Mai Châu-Hòa Bình paintings and the peaceful countryside of the northern villages in On The Wharf 1SunshinePeace and Small Village reflect the typical characteristics of northern villages and allow exhibition goers to identify with them on a personal level. 

To portray the range of landscapes, Bình uses contrasts between colours, creating a pure and mellow sunlight in the landscape paintings.

Observing the portrait series at the exhibition, viewers will also see Bình’s memory of his relatives, such as Missing Grandma in Winter; My DaughterMy Neighbourhood and The Red Dao Woman.

The exhibition will run until October 30 on 54 Đào Duy Từ Street. All the paintings are for sale. — VNS

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