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Mid-autumn photo show opens in Old Quarter

Update: September, 06/2016 - 11:18
Taking shape: An artisan makes lion heads for traditional lion dances in Gạo Village, Nam Định Province. — VNS Photo Lê Bích
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Popular photographer Lê Bích will display his 10 collections featuring artisans making traditional toys and food for the Mid-Autumn Festival starting Friday in downtown Hà Nội.

The exhibition titled People Preserving Mid-Autumn Festival’s Soul at Kim Ngân Communal House, 42-44 Hàng Bạc Street, is one of several activities scheduled for the Old Quarter Mid-Autumn Festival.

Hand-carved: Phạm Văn Quang (59 Hàng Quạt Street) makes moulds for mid-autumn cakes. —VNS Photo Lê Bích

The photos have been taken since 2009 of families in the capital with handicraft careers, like artisan Vũ Thị Thanh Tâm (residing at 79 Hàng Lược Street), who makes swans from cotton and sponge; Nguyễn Văn Hòa (73 Hàng Than Street), who makes masks from paper; Phạm Văn Quang (59 Hàng Quạt Street), who makes moulds for mid-autumn cakes; families who make lanterns on Hàng Mã Street; and Nguyễn Văn Mạnh Hùng, who makes metal ship toys in Khương Đình, Thanh Xuân District.

Bích has also visited handicraft villages in the outskirts of Hà Nội, including Báo Đáp Village in the northern province of Nam Định, which specialises in making star-shaped lanterns, and Gạo Village in the same province, which makes costumes for the traditional lion dance.

Vibrant colours: An artisan makes lion heads for traditional lion dances in Gạo Village, Nam Định Province. —VNS Photo Lê Bích

Bích said he spent several years working on a collection. He returned to Gạo Village four times before completing his collection. He has published his photo essays in various newspapers and magazines in Việt Nam.

After publishing a story on swan toys made from cotton by artisan Tâm in Heritage Magazine in 2012, she has sold more products than ever.

“Some guests from HCM City bought all the swans I had at home – about 100 swans in total,” Tâm recalled.

Classic toy: Children enjoy toy ships made by Nguyễn Văn Mạnh Hùng. —VNS Photo Lê Bích

A foreign journalist came to interview her with a copy of Heritage Magazine in his hands.

“When I met her again, artisan Tâm held my hand tightly,” Bích said. “That was the first-ever tight handshake that I have had.”

Made with love: Nguyễn Văn Mạnh Hùng makes metal toy ships in Khương Đình, Thanh Xuân District. —VNS Photo Lê Bích

Bích said he has taken photos mostly of artisans making toys and food for the Mid-Autumn Festival in the north.

“Some handicrafts like making toys from glass have died out because no one has maintained the career anymore,” he said.

Elegant craft: Artisan Vũ Thị Thanh Tâm (residing at 79 Hàng Lược Street) makes swans from cotton. —VNS Photo Lê Bích

Bích, who is well-known for his photo collections of village landscapes, said his love for traditional culture took root at a young age when he helped his father draw decorative patterns on pagodas and communal houses.

When his father died, he did not take his father’s job as a lacquer painter, but he has found his own niche in traditional culture.

In the past two years, he has hosted three photo exhibitions featuring handicrafts in Hà Nội.

In November, he will organise another exhibition featuring embroidery artisan Vũ Văn Giỏi in Thường Tín District, Hà Nội. — VNS



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