Vietnamese Contemporary Art
Vietnamese Art has a long and rich history. During the Stone Age (approximately 8,000 B.C.E, when pottery was made from clay and found in Vietnam with some early signs of artistic flare) Vietnam has gone through years of war with the Chinese, French and American. The Vietnamese art scene was influenced by ancient Chinese and modern French styles from the 1990s but still keep its most original with the proud of Buddhism, the strong and beautiful inner of the people and nature..
The contemporary art scene of Vietnam is found to be centered in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The former is considered to be the cultural capital of the country. A blend of both Eastern and Western influences distinguishes Vietnamese Contemporary Art. The so called ‘French School’ which is a term referring to the École des Beaux-Arts which was established by the French in Hanoi, in 1925 and is considered to have greatly influenced contemporary art in Vietnam.
For around half a century, Vietnamese art, specifically in the Northern region was intended to serve the revolution, and artistic interests were of minor importance. The freedom to display nudes, still-lifes and even abstract images were considered to be egocentric and frivolous, seen a a betrayal of the socialist ideology.
As of late, the contemporary Vietnamese artist has more freedom to represent his or her inner-self through his or her work. Since ‘Doi Moi’ there has been a revival in the use of traditional elements. The painters are being influenced by the renewed interest in traditional village ceremonies and the renovation of historical sites, such as pagodas, tombs, and shrines. The artists are visually drawn to ancient motifs, and through these lead to depiction of the soul and spirit of the Vietnamese cultural traditions.
Contemporary Art is usually created in traditional media such as oil, gouache, silk, and lacquer, which is the most traditional and characteristic medium. Lacquer painting is well known to be a time consuming process, requiring great patience. Vietnamese artists have taken this traditional art form and transformed it into a highly innovative and interesting genre.
"I was born in Vietnam and half of my childhood was spent with my grandparents in the countryside where I spent my days outside playing in the fields, going fishing from 3:30am with my grandfather or cycling to the market which was 1 hour away at 4:30am as it only opened 3 times a week from 4 to 7am...
I loved the smell in the early hours of the morning, of the ground after some tropical rain and the smoke from my grandparents’ kitchen... Being very close to nature at such a young age has become a big part of who I am and has built the foundation for the way I see the world.
During my time at college, thank to a close artist friend, I started hanging out with his artist friends where I gained insight into the art world. I got to know a variety of great artists in person, from well established to emerging and freshly graduated artists. I witnessed so many awesome artwork demonstrations, fine art exhibitions, and got to view a multitude of artists' studios where the creativity and uniqueness was born. I also got to know the different sectors within the industry, such as who was excelling with the sales of their artwork, and who was great as an artist but struggled with selling their works. At the time, I somehow believed that there must be a way to clear up the struggle.
I came to London for the first time over 7 years ago to pursue my further education. I was amazed by the boundless amount of opportunities that there were available and by the mass size of the city. I had a realisation that Vietnamese art did not have a standout presence within the art world, and from what I had witnessed did not receive the attention that it should have in one of the most amazing cities like London. I started going to galleries, exhibitions, and asking around but of course nobody took me seriously. That was what made me want to do something even more, because of the rejection. To be honest, I didn't really know what "something" would be but my gut told me to not give up.
I have come a long way from a little girl who tried to hide the tears of missing my parents while with my grandparents in the countryside at the age 3, to leaving a job in a bank after university in Vietnam because I wanted to see the world. Earlier this year, I gave up on my dream job within the Fashion Industry in London to pursue my dream of seriously representing Vietnamese artists in order to fulfil the missing void within the art world and I have not looked back since.
I want the world to see what I see. I am working extremely hard to make sure Vietnamese artists deserve a better chance at gaining international worldwide presence, and to draw a concrete line of Vietnamese and Asian art onto the world art map."