With nearly 20 years following her arts career, female Tay ethnic painter Vi Viet Nga has found her own way in working in wood-carved paintings and Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional long dress).
Painter Vi Viet Nga standing in front of her Ao Dai designs on display at the exhibition (Photo: Vu Anh)
Nga recently held her first solo exhibition entitled ‘Ban Sac’ (Identity) in Hanoi to display her artworks which were inspired from traditional values, particularly those of ethnic groups in the northern region.
On the occasion, she granted an interview with the Thoi Nay (Today) publication of Nhan Dan (The People) Newspaper to talk more about the exhibition and also her art career
Can you tell us about what brought you to wood-carved paintings and the idea of featuring these paintings on Ao Dai?
Painter Vi Viet Nga: Since I started learning fine arts in 2002, I have kept searching for new ideas in creating art. After encountering various materials, I find myself most interested in wood-carved paintings, which bring me warm feelings. Therefore, after graduating from the Viet Bac Art and Culture College, I continued my studies by majoring in wood-carved paintings at the Hanoi Open University.
It is undeniable that the Ao Dai has established itself as part of the national identity, and I see a similarity with the genre of wood-carved painting. In 2017, I joined an Ao Dai designing class hosted by celebrated designer Do Trinh Hoai Nam and from then, I came up with the idea of combining wood-carved painting and the traditional costume of Ao Dai.
Can you share us more about advantages and difficulties in realising the idea in your ‘Ban Sac’ exhibition?
Painter Vi Viet Nga: With my background in the study of art and design, I have advantages in adapting my wood-carved paintings for Ao Dai. However, making wood-carved paintings is hard work that requires many techniques and good physical health. Fortunately, I receive much support from my family and my colleagues at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.
Can you give us a short introduction to your exhibition?
Painter Vi Viet Nga: At the exhibition, I installed two paintings which look exactly the same but they were featured in two different materials: paper and wood-carved. The wood-carved painting was used as a “mould” to print onto paper and Ao Dai.
I have a deep love and aspiration to preserve the country’s traditional values. Wood is a very close material to the life of ethnic minority groups, therefore I focus on the daily practices and old customs of tribes in Vietnam’s northern region through my 25 wood-carved paintings and 12 Ao Dai outfits.
I hope that my artworks can promote the traditional values of ethnic groups in the mountainous region to the public, art lovers, and foreigners alike. By adapting wood-carved paintings into the two flaps of Ao Dai, I also hope to bring a fresh look and charm to Vietnam’s traditional and elegant outfit.
Selected photos captured at the exhibition:
‘My Hometown’, a wood-carved painting by Vi Viet Nga
Several Ao Dai designs on display at the exhibition (Photo: VNA)