While I was visiting Hanoi I was fascinated by the artworks of a Vietnamese artist Phan Thu Trang that in a way combines the freshness of Impressionism and traditional Vietnamese imagery.
Eager to discover more about this artist, I ventured to the Mai Gallery in the centre of Hanoi, where her artworks have an exclusive representation.
The Mai Gallery representatives welcomed me; and as they walked me through the four floors of artworks of different artists, I asked them several questions about the artist’s biography and her creative way of painting. And I would like to share with you what I learned.
I would say that travelling through Vietnam helped to enlarge my understanding of the country and its culture. I was impacted by the different climatic zones, each having its own unique characteristics. And in a way, I ascribed to her reasoning in representation of the landscapes of Vietnam throughout the seasons of the year.
Her ethos is very defined in regards of portraying her motherland as a vivid but yet very naïve and open.
The affection for her motherland is unmistakably seen through her idealized canvas. There are few powerful strokes of paint, and may be some movement of the wind, but the rest is left in the purity of the white color. My reading of this abundance of the white is in refraining from the problems of the country that lives rather by hopes than security.
Being a frequent traveller myself, I could not but notice the idea of the “eternal movement” that she often refers to. Neither there is a reference to the starting point, nor is the destination disclosed. It is more of a philosophical contemplation expressed by the artist on canvas, rather then a clear physical implementation of what she has seen before.
Thus, you would notice that the idea of the movement is transferred to the viewer in different ways. Nevertheless, it is always giving you the message of the eternal movement of life that would spin forward the idea that I would merely formulate as following: despite the rain or windy weather, you should find a need to go on in your life.
Thus, whatever season is described on the painting, you would see a few girls walking, a fisherman gliding on the water surface on his boat, a female cyclist with her reflection following her in the puddles after the rain…
Just a few traits of the local architecture, images of the people in traditional conical hats – those are small hints that it is always Vietnam that Phan Thu Trang is talking about. Winter or spring – we would know by the colors of the painterly impasto used to define the foliage of the trees, which can be even blue or violet…
I admire her way of expressing her pure love to Vietnam and its people and I wish Phan Thu Trang a lot of successful and happy moments in the future.
And if you are planning to visit Hanoi, try to find time to pass by the Mai Gallery, I am sure you will like the artworks and friendly atmosphere there.