Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Elder Nguyễn Bá Đạm won the Grand Prize for his books on Hà Nội at the 11th Bùi Xuân Phái Awards ceremony held yesterday at the Vietnam News Agency.
Born in 1922 in Mọc Village, Thanh Xuân District, Hà Nội, Đạm is a retired history teacher. He has published two books entitled Thuở Ấy Hà Nội (Hà Nội Moment in Time) and Hà Nội Những Câu Chuyện Kể Từ Cuối Thế Kỷ 19-20 (Hà Nội - Stories from the Period of the 19th - 20th Centuries). The books are highly regarded by Hà Nội researchers and readers because the simple and compact writing style and it tells many unknown stories about Hà Nội Capital.
He is writing another book about Hà Nội which will be published by the end of this year.
He is also an antique collector and has a passion for ancient coins and relics related to Vietnamese artists. He is one of the close friends of painter Phái. He is the model that the painter portrayed the most, depicting him in more than 240 portraits.
"My husband sketched Đạm a lot," said the late painter’s wife, Nguyễn Thị Sính. "He drew Đạm with different kinds of materials such as matchbox or cover of a book. He knew Đạm’s face very well even though he often drew without his friend present."
Đạm beat out five other nominees who have contributed greatly to Hà Nội during their career.
"The award expresses the younger generation’s gratitude to Đạm who has maintained Hà Nội’s memory over nearly one century," said poet Bằng Việt, chairman of the jury panel. "He has Hà Nội’s soul".
The awards organisation board also presented three other awards: the Work Prize, Idea Prize and Job Prize.
Poet Phan Vũ and former French ambassador to Hà Nội Jean Noel Poirier won the Work Prize. Vũ’s poetry Ta Còn Em (Hà Nội - My Love) was published by the Writers Association Publishing House this year. It is an epic written in 1972, comprising more than 440 sentences. However, only 21 sentences were previously widely known because composer Phú Quang set them to music.
Vũ is also director, script writer and painter. Due to health conditions, Vũ could not come to the award ceremony to receive the prize.
In a clip sent to the organisation from France, the former ambassador said that he was very honoured to be awarded the noble recognition. "I regret that I will unable to be in Hà Nội to receive the prize.
His documentary Mon Hanoi (My Hà Nội) was launched last October on the occasion of the Hà Nội Capital Liberation Day celebration. In the 52-minute documentary, the former diplomat takes the audience with him on a journey to discover Hà Nội – a city that evokes his hometown of Paris.
Hà Nội’s bustling streets, street vendors, colonial-era buildings showing the lingering influence of French architecture, old style communal residences and hidden corners: all have been presented vividly in the documentary.
The Prize for Great Work done in Hà Nội went to the Phùng Hưng Street mural painting project, a joint effort by the Hoàn Kiếm People’s Committee, the Korea Foundation and UN-Habitat. The mural painting street was inaugurated in February. Nineteen paintings were made by Vietnamese and South Korean painters.
"It is a great honour for the Korea Foundation," said Hyung Min Woo, the foundation’s representative. "I know that this is an important award of Hà Nội. We could not have carried out the project without the Hoàn Kiếm People’s Committee; painters and local residents. We will not stop and we will live up to the significance of the award."
Hanoian Quách Văn Địch also won the Job Prize for his donation of two ancient anchors to Hà Nội Museum. He bought the two anchors at the end 1999 at price of more than 10 taels of gold. The anchors were assessed by a group of archaeologists from Japan, France and Canada in 2008. They concluded that the anchors may have been made in the 15th century.
The Prize For Great Discovery was presented to Associate Professor Nguyễn Văn Huy for his proposal to conserve the Vườn Chuối archeological site. The need to preserve the archaeological site, believed to be Hà Nội’s first human settlement, has become more urgent as construction is set to begin on a large project in Kim Chung Commune, Hoài Đức District, where the relic is located.
The Bùi Xuân Phái Awards - For The Love of Hà Nội have been awarded annually by Thể Thao & Văn Hóa (Culture & Sport) daily since 2008 to honour the contributions of individuals and organisations to society, culture and the arts in Hà Nội.
The awards are named after renowned painter Bùi Xuân Phái (1920-88) whose iconic works of the capital city achieved global fame. — VNS