Vietnamese art hits road to Rome

July 5, 2006

[foto] Some 100 20th-century works at Vittoriano complex (ANSA) – Rome, July 4 – A new exhibition at Rome’s Vittoriano complex spotlights one of the rising stars of the world art scene – Vietnam .

The show, entitled the Dragon and the Butterfly, features around 100 paintings that give visitors a view of the Oriental nation’s art in the 20th century and the latest trends .

The event, which runs until July 16, is the highlight of a Festival of Vietnamese Culture organized by the Province of Rome as part of its wide-ranging Spring Festival .

“Rome is acting as a door to apparently distant artistic delights, which globalization is turning into new forms of expression that are increasingly accessible to other cultures,” explained Province of Rome Culture Councillor Vincenzo Vita .

“The provincial government has an international outlook. It is increasingly looking to the Orient and offering itself as an anchor (in Europe) for these new, explosive cultural phenomena”. Vietnamese painting kicked off in earnest in the first half of the 20th century, when the French colonial rulers founded the Fine Arts College of Indochina (FACI). Since then the nation’s art has been under the influence of the former colonial power, as well as to its northern neighbour China. But experts stress that Vietnamese art has managed to emerge from shadows of these cultures, especially in recent decades, to forge an unmistakable national identity. In doing so it has also released creative impulses repressed by centuries of foreign domination, they say .

Works by Vietnamese painters are now highly sought after on international markets, especially in France .

The exhibition opens with a range of traditional-style lacquer paintings, which artists in the 1950s used to tell the story of the war of independence from France. There are also the beautifully simple works of Nguyen Thanh Binh, perhaps Vietnam’s most popular artist, and hyperrealist paintings by Do Quang Em. The exhibition features some video installations too, as well as a series of traditional costumes of the country’s 57 different ethnicities .

The curator of the show is Truong Quoc Binh, the director of the Hanoi National Fine Arts Museum, which lent many of the pieces on display. “We Vietnamese consider Italy to be very close to us,” said Quoc Binh. “We love its art and other aspects of its culture – in soccer we cheer on the Azzurri”. The Festival of Vietnamese Culture also includes the screening of a selection of Vietnamese movies, conferences on development projects and tourism in the eastern country and a culinary bonanza at Rome’s Citta’ del Gusto (City of Taste) .

There will also be a photography exhibition entitled Images of Vietnam .

© Copyright ANSA. All rights reserved 2006-07-04 10:20

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