Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – A collection of 20 paintings by Vietnamese artist Phạm Luận and his Singaporean counterpart Jeffrey Wandly are on display at an exhibition in Hà Nội to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the two countries establishing relations.
Perspectives, which opened on Thursday, features the countries’ landscapes through the unique views and experiences of the artists.
Luận has a special affinity for Singapore and has extensively used Singapore’s landmarks and landscapes as inspiration for his paintings.
“Singapore impressed me from my very first trip to the country in early 1990s. I’m particularly fascinated with a vibrant Singapore when the lights are lit up,” said Luận.
Luận’s success in depicting the quality of light, both natural and artificial, gives an alluring appeal to each of his works, showing the iconic structures of Marina Bay Sands to the famous Merlion Park, from the lively Clarke Quay to soothing and peaceful Botanic Gardens.
“I have to return to a particular landscape through different times of the day to really feel every single detail. Whenever I capture an image in my mind, a potential painting is already created. A single sketch of light also needs great attention to make the painting come alive,” the Vietnamese artist said.
Wandly’s fondness for historical Vietnamese landmarks is evident in his works. As a regular visitor to the country, the Singaporean artist is particularly attracted to the unique architecture and street scenes of Hà Nội and Hội An cities. Busy streets in the capital city’s Old Quarter including Hàng Mã, Hàng Lược and Hàng Đậu are easily recognisable in his work.
“What I tried to capture is the essence of Hà Nội, the culture, the people, the faces, the things seen every day, especially the Tết (Lunar New Year) festival which is very unique,” said the Singaporean artist.
“Hà Nội has a strong history, strong culture and a lot of historical places, for example Đông Kinh Square, Hoàn Kiếm Lake and the Opera House,” he added.
His works reflect his sensitivities to the connections between people and their built environment. For example, paintings depicting the streets of Old Quarter provide a vivid view of the busy streets with motorbikes and street food shops, characterised by plastic chairs which can’t be seen elsewhere.
“These are places that I usually walk by, pass by and experience myself. I want to share how I feel, what I see and my impression of Hà Nội.
“I worked on the floor, I poured the ink, bringing in the characters. When it got dry, I put in layers of acrylics so layer after layer making it very natural and organic,” he said, pointing to a painting featuring Hàng Lược Street.
“The exhibition showcases the close and vibrant cultural exchanges and people-to-people ties between Singapore and Việt Nam, and it is a prime example of how art can bring the people of two countries closer together,” Singaporean Ambassador to Việt Nam Catherine Wong said.
“In a unique arrangement, the two artists have painted landmarks and landscape scenes not of their own country, but of each other’s country. Their paintings reflect their feelings, thoughts, and sense of attachment to each other’s country.”
The paintings are on display at the Cultural Exchange Centre, 50 Đào Duy Từ Street, Hà Nội until May 27. — VNS