Hà Nội lacquer painting exhibition features artist’s resurrection

October 29, 2023 - 07:40
Đào Anh Thơ allows herself to become a vessel of an all-encompassing creative force, embracing absolute creative energy and merging with the universe, while aiming towards the values of truth, goodness, and beauty for humanity.
Artist Đào Anh Thơ is pictured next to one of her artworks. Photos courtesy of the artist

HÀ NỘI -- Artist Đào Anh Thơ tells the life stories and moments of her life in 2021-22 through her debut exhibition, being held at the Lunet Art Galerie in downtown Hà Nội.

Thơ’s first solo exhibition, MetaReverse, displays 17 lacquer paintings, 17 pen sketches on paper, six poems, and six songs composed by the artist.

According to Thơ, MetaReverse is a form of borderless creativity. In MetaReverse, the artist allows herself to become a vessel of an all-encompassing creative force, embracing absolute creative energy and merging with the universe, while aiming towards the values of truth, goodness, and beauty for humanity.

"I want to introduce a new language of creativity to everyone. Having seen many negative aspects of the virtual world, I wish to bring humans back to the real world," she said.


Thơ was born in Hà Nội into an artistic family. Her mother is renowned lacquer painter Bùi Mai Hiên and her father is Đào Anh Khánh, a conceptual artist.

Before embarking on the artistic path, Thơ studied, lived and worked in the financial sector in various countries like the US, Australia, Japan and China. She had never thought about becoming an artist, despite being exposed to it almost constantly since her childhood.

However, shortly before her 32nd birthday two years ago, Thơ experienced a significant life event that she described as a near-death moment. It was after this experience that she underwent a powerful rebirth and decided to take her first steps into the world of art.

Thơ sketched her first artwork with a pen on a blank sheet of paper, designing princess hats, on her birthday, August 18, 2021, and finished it in less than a month, which she named Ngẫm (Contemplation).

'Ngẫm' (Contemplation) by Đào Anh Thơ

From then on, she tirelessly created art for six months, and completed 20 detailed pen drawings on paper and transformed them into 22 large lacquer paintings, measuring 168cm x 120cm.

Besides painting, the 34-year-old completed a music album consisting of six songs, which she wrote and performed herself.

"Having faced death has given me the courage and strength to live true to myself. At the age of 32, I let go of my entire past, deleted all social media, switched to using a basic mobile phone, and began crawling among the path of art."

"The more I reflect and experience, the more I realise that my initial instinctive understanding was correct, and it is through changing my perspective that my life has transformed and broken through to a new page," she said.

"Every day I wake up, doing work I am passionate about, living in peace, surrounded by the love of my family and friends, and seeing my child happy and smiling every day. So, what has brought about this miraculous change within me? It is the encoded message in MetaReverse, a manifesto that will guide my artistic journey from beginning to end."

According to art researcher-artist Trang Thanh Hiền, Thơ's journey into art is likened to a “love at first sight”.

“When I look at her paintings, listen to her share about her life, and see her smile, sometimes bright and sometimes with a hint of sadness, I can sense the wandering and wild spirit of her father, artist Đào Anh Khánh, and the deep passion of her mother, painter Bùi Mai Hiên. All of it seems to come alive on the canvas, naturally, without any limitations or constraints of artistic knowledge. It's as if it's already there, just waiting to be revealed,” Hiền said.

“The series of MetaReverse can be seen as the first milestone on her artistic journey, and I believe that she will go even further on her own artistic path."

'Cát Bụi Rong Chơi' (Wandering Dust) by Đào Anh Thơ

MetaReverse runs until November 10, at Lunet Art Galerie, 63-65 Hoàng Diệu Street, Ba Đình District, Hà Nội. VNS