|Laid-back lacquer: Portrait of composer Trinh Cong Son is one of many lacquer paintings by Phung Dzi Thuan on show at his solo exhibition in Ha Noi.
HA NOI (VNS)— The shimmering colours of lacquer paintings light up a showroom in Ha Noi where painter Phung Dzi Thuan displays the fruit of his 10 years' work.
The exhibition, which opened on Tuesday, is drawing much public atttention.
Thuan is one of the few painters who choose traditional lacquer, others use imported lacquer, to paint, painter To Ngoc Thanh, a leading artist, has noted.
"This is the time to enjoy Thuan's artworks," Thanh said. "A few painters use traditional lacquer, but only Thuan is faithful to the style."
Thuan, born in 1936, was among the first painters to graduate from the Indochinese Fine Arts College (now known as the Ha Noi University of Fine Arts) together with To Ngoc Van.
He has used many materials, such as timber for wood carving, oil on canvas and water colours, but he always falls for the charm of traditional lacquer, the modest material with mysterious beauty.
"Through the exhibition, I want to express my endless love for traditional lacquer and my desire to preserve the unique material," he said.
"While many foreign artists want to learn about traditional Vietnamese lacquer, the material is not popular at home... Many people can't tell the difference between traditional and modern lacquers."
The material is made from resin of lacquer trees mainly grown in northern midland provinces such as Yen Bai and Phu Tho. Dry resin is durable, waterproof, shiny and adheres firmly to timber.
"Traditional lacquer combined with vermillion, gold, silver, egg shells and sea shells creates bright and opulent colours that no materials can compare with," Thuan said.
"Industrial lacquer and other imported kinds are cheap and popular because the old fashioned type is difficult to mix and can even lead to skin ulcers."
The exhibition at 16 Ngo Quyen Street, Ha Noi, will run until April 22. — VNS