Tuesday, October 26 2021


New project preserves ethnic literature and arts

Update: May, 31/2021 - 08:11


The art of paintings on walls and ceilling originated from the Khmer ethnic minority in the provinces of An Giang, Kiên Giang, Sóc Trăng, Trà Vinh, and Bạc Liêu. Photo courtesy of Sóc Trăng Literature & Arts Association

By Thu Anh 

HCM CITY — A long-term project on protecting and promoting the values of ethnic literature and arts in Việt Nam has been launched by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.   

Under the project, traditional music, theatre and literature works with artistic values which have originated from ethnic minorities will receive financial support. 

Works featuring different forms of ethnic theatre and music will be released in videos, documentary films and books as a way to bring the arts closer to audiences. 

Literary works will be printed in e-book and books with 3D technology. 

Theatre and arts associations will run the five-year project, starting this year, on the publication and dissemination of ethnic folklore and cultural properties.

More than 1,500 literary works among 2,500 pieces will be published in ebooks. A collection of 54 books featuring theatre and music by ethnic people from different groups across the country will also be published. 

According to People’s Artist Hà Quang Văn of the HCM City Theatre’s Association, the association will work with folk and ethnic artisans, traditional art clubs and centres in southern provinces to collect, perform, record and film their works for release online to keep the arts alive.

“If we don’t offer urgent solutions and policies to help remote artists keep their art alive, many forms of Vietnamese ethnic arts will be gone in the near future,” Văn said. 

Văn’s association is working with Sóc Trăng and Trà Vinh provinces to preserve and promote dù kê, a unique style of ethnic Khmer musical theatre in southern Việt Nam. 


Dù kê, a unique style of ethnic Khmer musicals in southern Việt Nam, is often staged by leading traditional theatres in the region, such as the Ánh Bình Minh (Dawn) Traditional Art Troupe of Trà Vinh. Photo courtesy of Ánh Bình Minh Troupe

 Dù kê originated in Trà Vinh in 1920 from local farmers who loved to sing. The art is a product of the creativity of the Khmer ethnics.

In traditional clothes, local residents sing, dance and stage plays based on the religions, traditional customs and culture of the Khmer in their traditional festivals such as the Khmer Festival called Chol Chnam Thmay (New Year festival), which begins in the third month of the lunar calendar.

The performances of dù kê are often staged by leading traditional theatres in the region, such as the Ánh Bình Minh (Dawn) Traditional Art Troupe of Trà Vinh. The art also appears on TV shows by the Sóc Trăng Television & Radio Station. 

“Through our performance, we hope young audiences can learn about traditional art and culture as well as learn useful lessons about love, life and people,” Meritorious Artist Thạch Sung of the Ánh Bình Minh troupe said. 

"We're not looking to make a profit or gain glory from our art, but we hope to encourage people, particularly youth, to care about their culture much more than they do now," he added.  

The Khmer ethnics in the provinces of An Giang, Kiên Giang, Sóc Trăng, Trà Vinh, and Bạc Liêu also painted murals on walls and ceilings. The paintings feature Buddhist art, culture and lifestyle of their communities. They often appear on walls in local Khmer pagodas.  

“Khmer murals are very lively and persuasive, representing a southern lifestyle. They should be preserved and expanded to the world,” said culture researcher Huỳnh Thanh Bình. VNS 







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