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New quarterly enlivens art scene in HCM City

Update: October, 22/2013 - 10:24
First three: (from left) Sandrine Llouquet, Truc-Anh and Ayano Otani are the first three artists introduced in the first edition of Saigon Artbook. — Photo

HCM CITY (VNS)— About 300 young locals and foreigners stood in queue in front of the restaurant La Brasserie De Saigon last Thursday to join a special party. Each one of them had a new copy of the Saigon Artbook in hand.

Inside the restaurant DJs Demon Slayer and Starchild lit up the decks with original tracks while party-goers checked out works of the Artbook's artists, Sandrine Llouquet, Truc-Anh and Ayano Otani, which were hung on the restaurant's walls.

The first edition of the newly launched quarterly is available at La Brasserie (38 Dong Du, District 1).

The free quarterly aims to "bring art closer to everyone", says the Tuoi Tre Publishing House, which has launched the book.

Each edition catalogues the work of three people living in Ho Chi Minh City, with the underlying aim of promoting innovative and undiscovered artists.

With each entry, a party will be held where visitors can meet fellow art lovers, have a chance to observe the artists' talents and take the art book home as personal souvenir.

The first edition features three artists: Sandrine Llouquet, Truc-Anh and Ayano Otani.

Llouquet, born 1975 in Montpellier, France, has lived in Viet Nam since 2005. The catalog carries a collection of her watercolours on the theme of travelling.

Tangled hair curls, branches of ornamental plants, animals and insects are combined by Otani (Japanese artist) to create somewhat strange portraits.

Truc-Anh a Vietnamese French artist born in 1983, moved to HCM City in 2011.

His photos and still-life installations about the city capture contrasting aspects of the city – the dome of the opera house and a rubbish dump, for instance.

All three artists featured in the first edition of Saigon Artbook say they chose the city as their residence because it has the youthfulness, chaos and spontaneity that they need.

Closer approach

The quarterly can be said to be the brainchild of Alexander McMillan, who taught Shake-speare for many years at international schools in Tokyo and HCM City. A year ago, he decided to shift vocations and become a photographer, opening a studio called AlexbyAlex. He co-operated with a lot of famous brands in their advertising campaigns and the job brought him closer to non-stop HCM City.

He felt that the city needs "something", a closer, easier and more comfortable approach to art for young people, especially students who are keen on art but unaffordable to enjoy it.

So he mooted the idea of the Saigon Artbook as a bridge bringing art to people with the partners of The Other Creative House, a group he was working with.

The first edition of Saigon Artbook, of which 500 copies have been released, carries no advertising and clearly mentions on the back cover that it is not for sale.

The group responsible for bringing it out has no time to rest on their laurels.

They are already busy preparing for the second edition, which is expected to hit the stands in January. — VNS

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