|The portrait of a Korean girl by painter Mông Bích. — Photo courtesy of the organisers
HÀ NỘI — An exhibition featuring more than 30 artworks by 90-year-old painter Nguyễn Thị Mộng Bích is being held at the French Cultural Centre, L’Espace, in Hà Nội.
Đi Giữa Hai Thế Kỷ (Between Two Centuries) is the first solo exhibition of the veteran painter who has spent more than 60 years creating art.
Visitors to the exhibition can see silk paintings with watercolour, sketches that have established Bích’s reputation and original style and listen to the stories behind each artwork recorded in voice recordings made by the painter.
Some highlights include the portraits of an old beggar Bích encountered on the street, her late respectable teacher, master painter Trần Văn Cẩn, and the scenery of a Chăm ethnic village in the sunset.
“My paintings are not favoured by many customers. I paint portraits of rural old ladies or old lady beggars, who would like them? But that might have been fortunate. If I had kept chasing after money or high living standards, I might have forgotten art,” Bích said.
In addition, a documentary showcasing Bích’s life in a peaceful village will be shown in the exhibition space.
Bích was born in Hà Nội in 1931. She graduated from Hà Nội College of Fine Arts (now the Việt Nam University of Fine Arts) in 1970 and was a student of many celebrated Vietnamese painters like Trần Văn Cẩn, Nguyễn Đỗ Cung and Hoàng Lập Ngôn who inspired her with not only knowledge but also love for painting.
Bích is among the few female artists of her time who have won major painting awards, including the painting Mẹ và Con (Mother and Child) that won the first prize of the exhibition of Việt Bắc Interzone Department of Culture in 1961, and Bà Già (The Old Lady) that won the top prize of the exhibition of the Việt Nam Fine Arts Association in 1993.
Painter Cẩn once commented that Bích’s paintings were created with instinct and emotions. Meanwhile, Prof Nora A Taylor from the Chicago Fine Arts Academy said Bích was the embodiment of changes of Việt Nam’s art and history in the past century.
Between Two Centuries will run at L’Espace, 24 Tràng Tiền Street, Hà Nội, till November 22. VNS