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VN silk paintings on show in US

Update: September, 26/2017 - 09:57
Fascinating: Visitors contemplate Vietnamese silk paintings at the Oakland Asian Cultural Centre. — VNS Photo Trần Kim Thoa
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese silk paintings and products is now on display at the Oakland Asian Cultural Centre in the U.S.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the General Consulate of Việt Nam in San Francisco worked with the centre to organise the exhibition, which aims to provide a glimpse at Vietnamese silk paintings in particular and Vietnamese fine arts in general.

The 40 paintings in the exhibition have been selected from the works of 29 well-known Vietnamese silk painters spanning  generations. Some are considered masters of the art such as Nguyễn Tiến Chung (1914-76) and Nguyễn Thụ (born in 1930), are represented alongside younger artists who were born in the 1970s, 1980s and even 1990s, such as Nguyễn Thùy Linh (born in 1993).

Colourful: Peacock in Love by Vũ Đình Tuấn.

The paintings reflect the artists’ different perspectives and artistic themes. Some portray the beauty of Vietnamese people. Some highlight the landscape and local life, mountainous regions or contemporary life in the countryside.

“Though the paintings can’t represent all Vietnamese silk paintings, they help create the connection between the audience anh Việt Nam’s culture and people,” said Vi Kiến Thành, head of the Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition Department under the Ministry of Culture.

Silk is a traditional material of the East and of Việt Nam in particular. When the Indochina College of Fine Arts was founded in 1925, a generation of Vietnamese artists were influenced by European arts. It was not until the 1930s that Vietnamese silk paintings began to find their own style, gentle but profound.

Trippy: Touching by Nguyễn Thu Hương.

The uniqueness of Vietnamese silk paintings is that they have found their own palette, consisting of relatively few colours with rich hues. Shiny silk threads are dyed skillfully and with sophistication, expressing the voice of Vietnamese people.

“With the development of modern Vietnamese fine arts, silk painting has undergoned many changes in content and techniques,” Thành said. “With the desire of further exploring the expressive language of silk, some artists use tempera or gold plates.”

Tradition: Young Lady by Lâm Thanh.

The exhibition also introduces some typical silk products of famous silk-weaving villages such as Vạn Phúc (Hà Nội), Tân Giang (An Giang Province). The products were handmade by diligent workers and skilled artisans who strive on a daily basis to preserve the heritage of their hometowns.   

Donna K. Khorsheed, director of the centre, said the silk paintings are so beautiful that she hopes to come to Việt Nam in the near future to see the silk paintings here.   

Nature: Paradise Nature: Bird Flower by Lê Trần Hậu Anh.

Hoàng Yến and her husband Robert Pester spent Saturday enjoying the exhibition. For Pester, it was a first introduction to the art of Vietnamese silk paintings.

“The art itself is amazing and unique,” he said. “I found it fascinating the way the silk material had helped artists transform the colours and images, providing viewers with very soft, elegant, and pleasant visual effects. The many pieces allowed me to not only glance into the cultural past and present of Việt Nam, but also see just how creative and passionate the Vietnamese people are."

They said the experience at the exhibit, however, was not completely wonderful because the paintings are displayed in a narrow hallway that did not allow for suitable viewing. The lighting was also too much from all angles and created a glare on the glass frames protecting the art.

The exhibition will run until September 30 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Centre. — VNS

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