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Couple’s paintings show their love of Washington DC

Update: March, 25/2019 - 17:00
Oil paintings on display at the Exhibition Hall in the Fine Art University. — VNS Photo Khánh Chi
Viet Nam News

Khánh Chi

HÀ NỘI — I never imagined how beautiful Washington is in autumn until I went to an exhibition of 30 paintings, mostly oil, by a Vietnamese couple living in the US.

In their show Love Will Keep Us Alive, married artists Nguyễn Việt Năng and Bùi Vân Anh brought their love of their second hometown – Washington DC – back to Hà Nội.

Entering the Exhibition Hall in the Fine Arts University, I found myself strolling through fall hues of gold, orange and red plus plenty of creeks, rivers and breathtaking parks found in the paintings A fall afternoonGolden FallFall, Fall At Rock Creek Park, Fall Is Arrived and Full Shine, among others. Nature lovers can truly enjoy some wonderful scenery in these paintings.

Nature lovers can enjoy some wonderful scenery in the paintings. — VNS Photo Khánh Chi

Năng said he fell in love with Washington DC immediately and started sketching the scenes of beautiful Rock Creek Park. Many of his early sketches became complete paintings that are now on display.

"I sketch everything that comes into my eyes through daily life here, the things that have become so familiar,” said Năng. “We decided to name the exhibition for our love for each other and love for life here."

Nguyễn Việt Năng poses for a photo after finishing a painting of the fall leaves in Washington DC.

Anh came to Washington DC to visit a childhood friend in 2000, unaware that she would not see her young daughter and husband for another decade. What started out as a short trip turned into a life-changing education opportunity she could not turn down, then jobs and more education. Before she realised it, Washington DC had become her home away from home.

Năng grew up a typical Hà Nội boy adventurer, roaming freely all over the city’s old quarter. In 2010, he and his eldest daughter travelled to Washington DC to reunite with Anh.

A still-life painting named Spring is Coming by Bùi Vân Anh

"One should try looking at these artists’ paintings as markers along their personal journey to recover and to reunite, and to promote friendship between the two countries and two peoples of Việt Nam and the United States," friend of the couple Anh Pham wrote on his Facebook page. "Through those lenses, it should be easy for one to detect the ‘Vietnameseness’ in, for example, Năng’s depiction of the fall colours under a Rock Creek Park bridge or Anh’s lifelike rendering of lace in her still-life paintings – she acquired those techniques at the Art League’s Torpedo Factory Art Centre in old town Alexandria."

While originally trained as an English language professional in college in Việt Nam, Anh had always had a passion for arts. Năng was the first person to instill in her an appreciation for good arts, and taught her the first painting lessons when they were still middle school classmates.

Hoa mộc lan (Magnolia) by Nguyễn Việt Năng

“We decided to put on display 30 paintings as they represent the years we have been in love,” said Anh, whose still-life paintings make up one third of the exhibit. “Painting is my hobby and for some paintings it took me three or four years to finish due to my tight working schedule.”

“I’m impressed with the way the artists make objects look alive in their works,” said a young exhibition viewer. “I can feel the real essence and the soul of flowers, fruits and objects in Anh’s paintings and the beauty of the nature in Năng’s.”

The paintings are on display at the Exhibition Hall in the Fine Art University, 42 Yết Kiêu Street, until Friday, March 29. — VNS


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