Wednesday, July 18 2018

VietNamNews

World Cup brings pleasure to artist

Update: June, 21/2014 - 12:00

Many people in Viet Nam are football fans, especially now that the World Cup is on in Brazil.

Artist Nguyen Thanh Tam is not a football fan but he is enjoying the World Cup season making little models of Fuleco, the World Cup mascot.

He makes them from clay and eggshells.

The character Fuleco is an armadillo, which lives in the wild in Brazil.

On the ball: Retired English teacher Nguyen Thanh Tam shows off the World Cup mascots made from chicken and ostrich eggshells and clay.
On the ball: Retired English teacher Nguyen Thanh Tam shows off the World Cup mascots made from chicken and ostrich eggshells and clay. - VNS Photo Van Dat

by Van Dat

HCM CITY (VNS) — Retired teacher of English Nguyen Thanh Tam, unlike millions of others in Viet Nam, is not a fan of football. But when the World Cup rolls around, or rather erupts in all its splendid and loud glory for an entire month, the connoisseur of art likes to takes advantage.

Lining his 48sq.m apartment on the fourth floor of an old tenement building in HCM City's Go Vap District is a dizzyingly large collection of replicas of World Cup mascots made of clay and eggshells.

The former student at a school for gifted students, Petrus Ky High School (now Le Hong Phong High School), once wanted to study art but his mother nixed that idea, and instead he chose to enrol in the Sai Gon National Music and Dramatics School (now HCM City Conservatory of Music), graduating in 1972.

Teaching music was not too lucrative, so he began to study at the HCM City University of Pedagogy while holding down a job, finally graduating with a bachelor's degree in English teaching in 1995.

Now 63, Tam has free time to devote to art, his lifelong love.

This year, he has already spent about three weeks making the official World Cup 2014 mascot, an armadillo figure named Fuleco by the Brazilian organisers.

To date, he has sculpted nine Fulecos, big and small, out of eggshells and clay. He uses paintbrushes, aerosol cans and other tools to apply oil or watercolour to the face and body of his figures.

Besides the mascots, Tam has painted each flag of the 32 countries participating in the World Cup and placed them on a world map. The entire task, made with quail eggs, took about 10 hours.

Sport, however, is not the only subject Tam finds interesting. He sculpts popular figures from animated feature films like Finding Nemo or televised cartoons like The Smurfs, as well as pop-culture icons like Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse.

He especially likes to make characters who shape or attract public opinion, including US President Barack Obama and Australian inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic.

"Now that the world is paying attention to the World Cup, I had to do something," he said.

Always first to spot a trend, Tam said that when Vietnamese developer's Nguyen Ha Dong's mobile game Flappy Bird became a worldwide sensation months ago, he made eggshell sculptures of the pixilated figure.

However, Tam said that he prefers to make sport mascots because they represent vitality and good health, the most important thing in life that can help us realise our dreams.

In his apartment, stored in every nook and cranny, are more than 600 sculptures of different sizes, diverse themes and colours.

Tam said he could make many more, but he is interested in quality, not quantity.

As a teacher of English, Tam said he began making art for classroom use, first using coconut shells and clay for illustrations, then shifting to eggshells.

Now, he uses eggs from a variety of animals, including quails, chicken, ducks, geese, ostriches, tortoises and crocodiles.

He is particularly pleased when people can identify his characters, and he readily admits that he is rather good at painting.

"My wife keeps complaining that I spend too much time on these odd things which give me no income. But my son seems interested, so I've taught him how to sculpt," Tam said. He said that he wants to teach others, at no charge, how to do the same. — VNS

GLOSSARY

Retired teacher of English Nguyen Thanh Tam, unlike millions of others in Viet Nam, is not a fan of football. But when the World Cup rolls around, or rather erupts in all its splendid and loud glory for an entire month, the connoisseur of art likes to takes advantage.

Someone who has retired has stopped working because they have reached the age when they have to give up their jobs so that younger people can do them.

A connoisseur of art is someone who knows a lot about art.

To take advantage of something means to use it to your benefit.

Lining his 48sq.m apartment on the fourth floor of an old tenement building in HCM City's Go Vap District is a dizzyingly large collection of replicas of World Cup mascots made of clay and eggshells.

A tenement building is one that is divided into a number of different homes.

Replicas are copies.

Mascots are symbols that are used to bring good luck. Sports teams often have mascots that are made into dolls.

The former student at a school for gifted students, Petrus Ky High School (now Le Hong Phong High School), once wanted to study art but his mother nixed that idea, and instead he chose to enrol in the Sai Gon National Music and Dramatics School (now HCM City Conservatory of Music), graduating in 1972.

To nix something means to cancel it.

To enrol at a school means to join the school as a student.

To graduate means to pass a course.

Teaching music was not too lucrative, so he began to study at the HCM City University of Pedagogy while holding down a job, finally graduating with a bachelor's degree in English teaching in 1995.

Something that is lucrative makes you lots of money.

Sport, however, is not the only subject Tam finds interesting. He sculpts popular figures from animated feature films like Finding Nemo or televised cartoons like The Smurfs, as well as pop-culture icons like Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse.

Animated means in cartoon form.

Always first to spot a trend, Tam said that when Vietnamese developer's Nguyen Ha Dong's mobile game Flappy Bird became a worldwide sensation months ago, he made eggshell sculptures of the pixilated figure.

Pixilated means confused.

However, Tam said that he prefers to make sport mascots because they represent vitality and good health, the most important thing in life that can help us realise our dreams.

Having vitality means being active and energetic.

In his apartment, stored in every nook and cranny, are more than 600 sculptures of different sizes, diverse themes and colours.

Every nook and cranny means every little corner.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

1.      Something that comes from birds and reptiles that Nguyen Thanh Tam uses to make models of mascots.

2.      The subject Nguyen Thanh Tam taught before he retired.

3.      The country in which the football World Cup is being played.

4.      The kind of animal that Fuleco represents.

5.      A device used to apply colour to his works of art.

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ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2014




































1. Eggshells; 2. English; 3. Brazil; 4. Armadillo; 5. Paintbrush.

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