Van Duong Thanh marks Vietnamese painting at world art map

April 7, 2007

14:38′ 06/04/2007 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – Escaping the hot weather and the noise of HCMC’s streets, I came to Van Duong Thanh’s atelier which was a breath of fresh air for my body and nerves.

Van Duong Thanh puts the brush to the canvas.

The atelier is truly a work of art showcasing Thanh’s paintings and a relaxing way to view art. “Viewers can see how I have progressed. It’s a studio and a home,” she said. The three-story house is filled with an array of oils, lacquers and acrylic paintings, in a variety of styles.

Thanh was born in Phu Yen Province and studied painting for twelve years during the difficult times of the American war in Vietnam.

However, her paintings are not depressing or morbid, viewers will not find hatred nor anger in her paintings. In a semi-abstract style, her works display flowers and nude motifs and they are imbued with a sense of tranquility.

“Although I have experienced sorrow, bitterness and the emptiness of war, I really want my work to promote happiness, love and hope,” she said.

Thanh has lived in Sweden since 1988, she has returned to Vietnam many times to study its people, cultures and landscapes. Through her paintings, viewers can appreciate Vietnamese spirit, soul, and the beauty of nature because Thanh’s works use tranquil oils and lacquers to explore every corner of the country.

“I want my viewers to recognize my country, so I paint with realism, but I also put my soul into the paintings” she confided.

Last year, Thanh opened an exhibition to showcase 30 paintings on canvas and lacquer depicting Hanoi’s old gates, and opened a White Lotus drawing workshop. The show is a huge ‘thank you’ from Thanh to the city where she was raised.

At the exhibition, she admitted that she was affected by Western painting styles but retained strong connections to her homeland through her love of nature.

Aside from many exhibitions at home, Thanh has staged over 65 solo exhibitions in foreign countries like France, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, the United States and Sweden. Through these exhibitions, she has brought Vietnamese art to outside world.

With her great contribution to Vietnamese fine art, Thanh was honored as an ambassador of Vietnamese culture in Sweden for her effort to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

She is one of the most recognized female artists in Asia.

Talking about her contribution, Lenarth Nordstrom, a representative of the Swedish Embassy in Hanoi said that Thanh was an asset to both Vietnam and Sweden since apart from being a painter, she, as a lecturer, has helped thousands of Swedish and foreign students in Sweden appreciate Vietnamese art.

She is the youngest painter to have a painting bought for display at the Vietnam Art Museum: White Daisy, which she painted at the age of 20.

She mostly leans towards an expressive, semi abstract style with bright colors. She has conceived and finished over 1,500 paintings which mainly feature Vietnam’s people and the beauty of nature.

To promote Vietnamese art and continue her contribution to her homeland, Thanh has decided to auction her painting ‘The Scent of Spring’ the end of this month on Vietnamese Television’s VTV1 channel to raise funds for the Vietnam Fund for the Poor and the victims of dioxin.

Thanh also expressed her ambition to organize three solo exhibitions, including Hanoi Impression, Reflection and Abstraction and Mekong Delta Impression.

Aside from that, she will continue to promulgate Vietnamese art in Australia at an exhibition called ‘Vietnam Contemporary Art Show’ at Mel Bourg.

(Source: SGT)

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