The old soul of a young 18-year-old artist

February 28, 2023 - 08:52
The event is set to take place from March 2nd to March 6th at the 29 Hàng BàI Exhibition Hall in Hà Nội.
ALL QUIET: 'Soundlessness' painted by Trần Nam Long.

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HÀ NỘI — The vibrant and compelling artwork of 18-year-old painter Trần Nam Long will soon be on display at the Old Streets Exhibition, a showcase of nearly 80 of the young artist's pieces.

The event is set to take place from March 2 to March 6 at the Exhibition Hall in 29 Hàng Bài Street in Hà Nội.

Long, who was born with several physical disabilities, including ADHD and deafness caused by severe pneumonia, also suffers from congenital muscle paralysis in both legs, which presents challenges in his daily life.

However, he has channelled his struggles into a deep passion for art and an innate talent for painting, fostered and nurtured by his mother, who has supported him since the loss of his father at a young age.

He has super-perspective thinking skills and the ability to focus on his talents. Phùng Thị Hiếu, his mother, takes her son to sketch architectural buildings from universities, the Opera House and French-era mansions to dilapidated old buildings.

The young artist loves spending all day meticulously describing every detail of architecture, trees, and objects. Whether with a wide or narrow perspective, Long glues them together with very realistic details.

Perhaps that's why Long's paintings are particularly attractive, because viewers can see the whole picture, with every detail Long recorded in the painting.

Long's sketches can be a whole row of townhouses or a lovely corner of stairs. The common theme is all are vivid, extremely detailed and very "Hà Nội".

A wealth of details of everyday life are visible in Long's paintings: billboards crammed along the streets, a man wearing a mask in a hot rice flour rolls shop, green rice rags and dong leaves in the burden of a woman selling “cốm vòng”, or green rice flakes.

Long captures moments in everyday life; viewers can feel summer sunshine or the musty smell of a lime wall.

Despite being very young, Long's gaze is less romantic than most, instead picking up details of everyday life on every day life that might usually be missed by someone of his age. His maturity is clear.

To prepare for this exhibition, Long put heart, time and energy into drawing.

"He draws every day," his mother said. "Having sat on the easel, Long forgets everything else but his pens, colours and canvas. It is normal for him to forget to eat and sleep when drawing,” she said.

“My son and I have gone through many streets and corners together, silently contemplating for many hours what is the essence and soul of the 'Old Streets'. Long wishes to keep for himself and his viewers a Hà Nội full of thoughts, sometimes joyful, bustling with sunshine, but mostly nostalgic and sad, through hundreds of sketches and even paintings on various materials.”

The 80 paintings in the exhibition are 80 small pieces of Hà Nội that Long has devoted himself to creating over the past two years. He has painted beautiful pictures and conveyed an endless source of inspiration about his will to live and his passion for creation. VNS