Spanish photographer captures woman’s soul

March 10, 2023 - 08:41
Spanish artist/architect Salvador Perez Arroyo depicts the various emotions of a woman through 24 portraits in an exhibition in downtown Hà Nội.

Lê Hương

HÀ NỘI — Spanish artist/architect Salvador Perez Arroyo depicts the various emotions of a woman through 24 portraits in an exhibition in downtown Hà Nội.

Titled "Lily, A Journey into a Woman’s Dreams", the exhibition focuses on Lily, whose real name is Cao Thị Hương.

“We were inspired by the many roles that women play in society,” Salvador said, “Women have the most complete history of human evolution because of their crucial role in the production of life and in the transmission of knowledge across generations.”

Attendees enjoying the event. VNS Photo Lê Hương

Lily’s dreams are like a process moving from full awareness to unconsciousness.

She dreamt of being historical figures, experienced being scared and happy. The education of the society has been featured in her journey.

A highlight in the exhibition is Lily, the model, in Vietnamese traditional long dress áo dài. The portrait is put in a gold gilded wooden frame from the 19th century.

“In the 19th century, the romantic age, one photo represented a frozen moment in the life of the model,” reads the caption. “This was a celebration where many people stood in a staged and professional manner in front of the photographer. Oil canvas paintings experimented with the same ceremonial behavior. This picture is a link between classic romantic paintings and modern photography.”

A photo titled Pain at the exhibition

Amateur model Cao Thị Hương said she was first not sure how she could express the states of awareness and unconsciousness of a woman.

They worked for nearly one year together on the project.

“The similarity in souls between me and the artist has created a special connection, helping me express naturally and sincerely the feeling process of walking in dreams,” she said.

Arroyo said he chose Lily as the name of the main character for the exhibition because Lily is a kind of flower, which sounds feminine and makes people understand easily that this is a woman character.

A photo titled Smell

Popular photographer Chu Chí Thành said the photos belong to the conception photography category, which is different from reality photography, which is more familiar to the audience.

“The two categories support each other and make photography art more diverse and our visions more variant,” Thành said. “The topic of the exhibition is so meaningful and lures the audience into the dreams of a woman.”

Nguyễn Thị Minh Hương, deputy chairwoman of Việt Nam Women’s Union, noted that this is a special project, which helps the audience discover the soul world of Lily or women through the exchange of feelings between the artist and the woman.

“Nothing is more valuable than the stories and beauty of Vietnamese women as depicted in a poetic way by a foreigner, which means Vietnamese people have taken a not small part in his heart,” she said.

A photo titled New Life at the exhibition

Pilar Méndez Jiménez, Spanish ambassador to Việt Nam, said that the artist has not only been a contemporary architect with a good reputation in Asia and Europe, but also been acting as a cultural bridge between Việt Nam and Spain for the past 12 years through his projects such as the Quảng Ninh Museum-Library complex and photo book, and the exhibition titled Happy Street in 2019.

The exhibition runs at the Vietnamese Women Museum, 36 Lý Thường Kiệt Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, until the end of March. — VNS