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Culture Vulture: Curator connects France, Việt Nam

Update: September, 13/2017 - 09:00
Project curator Nguyễn Kiều Linh.—Photo from her Facebook page
Viet Nam News

A recent exhibition in Hà Nội brings audiences the work of eight photographers from France and Việt Nam who have shot images of contemporary dancers in the two countries.

The Regards Croisés (Common Viewpoint) exhibition is curated by the Vietnamese freelance photographer Nguyễn Kiều Linh, who has studied in France for six years. This exhibition is a sequel to another exhibition curated by Linh during the Dance Biennale 2016 in Lyon, France.

The 24 year-old student spoke with Bạch Liên.

How did you get the idea to organise this photo exhibition in France? And after, to bring it to Việt Nam? 

I have been passionate about photography for a long time. And one day, I had the occasion to meet dancers and work with them in France as part of my photography studies at the Condé School in France.

Dance and photography are two specialties of Lyon City, where I live. I am also a member of the Young Ambassador Association of the Auvergne- Rhône-Alpes region. To become a member, I had to take part in a contest in which I have to be able to show to others the best of Lyon City. All candidates have to think of projects which help further promote the culture of the city.

And then, I thought of combining those two specialties of Lyon in a photo exhibition. I also wanted to showcase in this event the best photos of some young and talented Vietnamese photographers capturing scenes of dance spectacles in Việt Nam. My objective is to connect the cultures of France and Việt Nam.

This project started with a photo exhibition which was organized in two community centres of Lyon in September 2016. After that, I brought this project to Hà Nội, at the French cultural centre, which is an ideal venue at which to promote the cultures of two countries.

In the near future, I will bring the exhibition to other parts of Lyon. And I also wish to bring it to HCM City.

The exhibition showcases photos of contemporary dance by French and Vietnamese artists. What do you see as the commonalities and differences between contemporary dance in France and in Việt Nam?

French dancers use very simple costumes. They tell stories by using different facial expressions and the stage lights.

But in Việt Nam, artists pay much attention to preserving the national identity. So the traditional costumes and the familiar materials like bamboo are often used.

The common point in those two countries is that they both have enthusiastic dancers full of energy, willing to make sacrifices for the art. And they have photographers who do their best to capture the most valuable scenes of dance performances.  

You are a very young student but you managed to organize a meaningful project abroad. Did you meet any specific difficulties in organizing this event?

I am actually third-year student in the photography specialty at the École de Condé – an art design school in Lyon.

It’s the first time I have organized an exhibition, but I tried my best to do things as professionally as I could. As I can see, the most important thing in working in France is to establish a plan early and make contact with partners as early possible, to be well prepared for the project. What is the most difficult is the financial question. I called for support from different people of different regions through crowdfunding. And I was proud that I could find sponsors. This facilitated my organisation of the event.

And to make this exhibition a success, I had to rely a lot on the support of many friends and my family.

Did it take you lot of time to invite French and Vietnamese artists to take part in this exhibition?

I got to know them through my contacts and through my research about the Dance Biennale in Lyon. Luckily they were very enthusiastic, ready to send photos, support my project, and offer me the opportunity to show off my artistic skills in selecting the photos on display.

I know that you have two passions: dance and photography. Do you want to become a photographer specializing in taking photos of dance?

I once had opportunity to take photos of a dance show which was held at my school. I was very interested in it. But to be able to pursue my aims, I still have to study a lot of things in the future.  

I know you study at two universities in Lyon and take part in several outside projects. How do you manage to do so many things at the same time?     

I began my project in November 2015, when I was doing my final year of economics at the Lumière Lyon 2 University and the first year of the photography specialty at the Ecole de Condé. At that time, I also worked extra jobs to earn money for my living in Lyon. Now, I only focus on my studies of photography, so I have time to look after the project better. I do not have any secrets, but my achievements now are due to my hard work. I am determined to pursue my passions and challenge myself. And I am lucky because I get lots of support from my acquaintances, friends and family.—VNS


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