Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Artist Tô Ngọc Thành doesn’t paint from his mind. He paints from deep within his heart and his soul.
His inspiration is drawn from memories. Memories of his childhood.
“My childhood is those days following my dad traveling to Việt Bắc (Northen Việt Nam) military base,” he recalls as his 19th solo exhibition opens.
“Those mountain ranges, the lives of the ethnic groups. They have all left deep scars in my heart.”
Thành draws inspiration from a multitude of places. But none are so meaningful as Sapa.
This latest exhibition, Duyên Nợ với Sapa (Predestined Love Tile with Sapa), features 63 carefully crafted works.
They include oil paintings of landscapes, scenery and the people of Sapa. The exhibition also contains pencil sketches of nude women.
He is no stranger to the regions he paints. Mountainous provinces like Cao Bằng, Bắc Kạn, Lạng Sơn, Yên Bái, Hòa Bình, Sơn La, Lai Châu all feature heavily in his vast collection.
But there’s nowhere quite like home. And home is Sapa. It’s here where his lasting impressions are formed and last a lifetime.
Kicker: Beside Sapa, female sensuality is also a favourite subject of Thành. — VNS Photo An Vũ
He’s no stranger to the town. And can often be seen enjoying what he describes as year round mystery, poetry, culture and, of course, natural beauty.
It’s a place he has painted so much, he has forgotten how many works of art have come from his pallet.
“People here must get used to seeing me persistently strolling up and down all villages of Sapa and sitting silently for hours to paint,” he said.
“With hundred trips to this township, until now, I can not remember how many paintings I have made on this land.”
“I can name all the villages and people here. I also know the weather, the climate, and each road in Sapa.
“Even when I close my eyes, I can still paint Sapa.”
For Thành his influences are many, but his path was formed by one man.
“I always live by my father’s wish. To paint is the reason to live. One single day I miss painting is a day of quitting my job. Why do you call yourself an artist if you can not paint?”
And his work is having a lasting impression of art lovers far and wide.
Anna Sandberg, an American visitor, said she was impressed by mix of colour.
“I’m really dazzled by the colour in his paintings. Their freshness and brightness make the paintings so alive.”
Kicker: Visitor watches paintings in amusement. — VNS Photo An Vũ
Celebrated late painter Lưu Công Nhân once wrote on Thành’s artworks, “To feel the art in Thành’s paintings, you have to come in early and watch them. This time has more beautiful pictures than the previous time, and the elegance and full-faced characteristics in colour.”
As the son of one of the great painters of Việt Nam Tô Ngọc Vân (December 15, 1906 or 1908 – June 17, 1954), who has pioneered in the way of using oil painting, Thành graduated from the Việt Nam College of Fine Arts and the Czechoslovak University of Fine Arts.
He is a member of Việt Nam Fine Arts Association. His works have been displayed in many national museums of Việt Nam, Poland, Italy, USA, France, Sweden, Germany, Japan and much more.
He was also awarded many prestigious prizes like prize of International Children Painting in Austria and Japan 1951-58, special prize of Soviet Union Magazine in Moscow, and so one.
The exhibition is being held at the Exhibition Hall of Việt Nam Fine Arts Association, 16 Ngô Quyền Street, Hoàn Kiếm District and lasts until March 26. — VNS