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New creations and memories

In Vietnam, Da Lat will be one of the cities people will consider as they choose an appropriate address for creating art spaces.

A music show amidst the immense nature of Da Lat.

The various backgrounds of climate, nature, landscape and architecture have become "specialties" for those who have the capacity of artistic creation.

In fact, Da Lat has always existed as a place nurturing the initial inspiration for those who are immersed and engaged in the creation of the beauty.

In addition to the values from ancient memories of this urban area, Da Lat has been always a suitable choice that has brought new depth and breath for the process of creating and supplementing contemporary art spaces.

In the past, as Da Lat is not far from Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), many famous names in the southern art world at that time chose the highland city, with its mountains, pine forests, fog, and waterfall, as a destination during their long journey along their career path.

The street in the forest in the upper highlands used to be a sympathetic space of writers and poets. The poet friends Quach Tan and Han Mac Tu left two famous poems expressing the beauty of nature in harmony with the state of loneliness in human life in their meeting in Da Lat.

The local people still remember the names of the writers who lived here such as Pham Cong Thien, Nguyen Thi Hoang, Nguyen Duc Son, Pham Cao Hoan and Le Khanh. Many musicians’ songs featured the charm of Da Lat through their memories of past days when they and their groups performed at night-clubs in the locality.

From the couple of artists Le Uyen and Phuong to the musicians Tu Cong Phung, Hoang Nguyen, Lam Phuong or the singers Tuan Ngoc and Khanh Ly, they retained their memories of their childhood or at least a part of life in Da Lat.

Some others chose to live in Da Lat during the last days of their lives such as painters Hoang Lap Ngoc and Luu Cong Nhan and sculptor Pham Van Hang left his hometown for Da Lat to build a garden of statues amidst an old pine forest.

During the wartime, many young artists sit together every night in Da Lat to discuss and pray for a peace for their fatherland including painters Trinh Cung and Dinh Cuong; musician Trinh Cong Son; and the couple of director Hoang Anh Tuan – Ngo Thi Lien.

It can be said that Da Lat was once a place for artistic encounters and the starting point for the shine of many talents.

Memoranda with old values aimed to affirm that Da Lat was a rare and different space of art in the south full of gunpowder smell.

At that time, just the student stage of the Spellman lecture hall under the Da Lat University brought names in the drama and theatre sectors such as director Le Cung Bac and screenwriters Pham Thuy Nhan and Le Kim Ngu.

The small coffee shop “Tung”, ran by Tran Dinh Tung and Le Thi Giac, became the address for the discussion and communications of many artists and writers in the south, while the Luc Huyen Cam music bar of couple Le Uyen and Phuong was a luxurious gathering place for the literary, music and painting worlds.

Recently, the public in Da Lat have witnessed the “return” of many writers and artists who lived in and had attachment to Da Lat.

Painter Dinh Cuong returned to the city from the US, bringing his paintings that were created in the past for his individual exhibition full with nostalgic emotions.

The children of photographer Nguyen Ba Mau, who was considered the "witch" of gradation arts over ten years ago, launched an impressive exhibition in Da Lat to commemorate their father.

Screenwriter Pham Thuy Nhan, author of many famous films, shared her emotions on her book “"The Thorny Road" with her friends and the Da Lat public.

The “returns” with many events held by the artists who lived and had attached to Da Lat contributed to enriching and refreshing the artistic life of the mountain town today.

The activities have become the opportunities for artists to remember the ancient sounds while inspiring new creativity of young people today.

Through the stories told by the arts, the "returnees" have reproduced memorable lines in the memory of the urban area, helping young people understand more about the stories of the artists in a slice of history.

Of course, they were born in a different era with new trends, so they will certainly have different feelings and expressions.

In Da Lat, over the past years, the young people have created new art spaces for the city. Despite not having breakthroughs, their ideas and creations expressed their love and enthusiasm for the land. The polymorphic contemporary art project called "Hillside Street" by a group of young artists, founded by Nguyen Trung Hien (born 1982), was an example.

They are also the garden of statue named “The clay tunnel”, the local cultural performance area of Cu Lan Village, small stages in the tourist area, young music troupes along the Hoa Binh pedestrian street at weekends, performances of traditional bands at the foot of legendary Lang Biang Mountain. Today, the artists have organised their exhibitions on pine hills, beautiful streets and open lakes.

Previously, visitors to Da Lat could not ignore the tea-rooms and music coffee shops with cute names such as Cung To Chieu, Luc Huyen Cam, Moc, Tinh Ca and Pho Xua that once made the mark of Da Lat.

However, young people today seldom choose tea rooms with quiet spaces for entertainment; therefore, many music and coffee stages amidst nature have formed.

The new style of music venues has attracted a large number of famous singers such as Dam Vinh Hung, Le Quyen, Dan Truong, Quang Dung and Ha Anh Tuan.

There will be much more to say, many shortcomings that need to be corrected. There will also be new ideas born for suitable, attractive and aesthetic art spaces for the mountain town. It is worth mentioning that young people in Da Lat have created new features while receiving the emotional stream of old memories.

Nguyen Trung Hien, founder of the artistic project “The Hillside Street”, said: “As a child of Da Lat, I realise the typical advantages of the city and the artistic culture of the locals here. From the artistic point of view, this place is a special space creating inspiration for artists to compose, research, exchange and share. That is the unique way in which Da Lat’s youths are making art, very remarkable and respectful”.

Nhan Dan

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