|Time for renewal: Statue of General Tran Nguyen Han, who served under Emperor Le Loi during the 15th century, located in front of Ben Thanh Market. The statue has been damaged by time and weather. — VNS File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS) — Cultural authorities in HCM City are working with veteran sculptors to develop more public spaces for sculpture as part of an effort to enhance the urban environment.
Last month, a special exhibition of 32 sketches of President Ho Chi Minh were displayed in the Ho Chi Minh Museum by the city's People's Committee.
The event aimed to collect opinions from the public about a proposed statue of Ho Chi Minh.
The sketches were from artists and 23 individuals from across the country who participated in a three-month contest launched in June by the city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
According to the department's deputy director, Le Ton Thanh, the statue will be made of a bronze mixture and placed in front of the city's People's Committee headquarters.
"The work is the city's first step to upgrade old statues and sculptures and install new ones in downtown," sculptor Bui Hai Son, a member of the city's Fine Arts Association, who works for the HCM City University of Architecture, said.
"Modern urban areas like Phu My Hung and Thu Thiem should be designed with public art in mind, but there has been little attention from local authorities," he said.
According to Son, most statues of traditional heroes or those with cultural meaning in the city were made before 1975 and have been damaged by weather.
One of the degraded works is statue of General Tran Nguyen Han who served under Emperor Le Loi during the 15th century. The statue is located in front of Ben Thanh Market.
To prepare to build the Ben Thanh Metro, the statue will be moved and stored in the city's Viet Nam History Museum.
People's Artist and skilled painter Uyen Huy said: "In a city, statues and sculptures feature not only art but also history and culture."
"Our city has developed quickly in recent years, but it has provided very few places to place statues and sculpture serving the cultural and entertainment needs of local people," he said.
The HCM City Fine Arts Museum has faced difficulties in exhibiting large sculptures created by its members because there is not enough available space.
Artists often display their works in two parks, Bach Tung Diep and Tao Dan in District 1.
Son said that artists "want to serve the public by displaying on the street instead of in galleries".
"We hope our association will work more closely with cultural officials and related agencies to help sculptors show and place their works in suitable public places," said Son. — VNS