An exhibition took place in Sydney, Australia on September 6 – 15, featuring artworks and designs inspired by Vietnamese culture during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945).
The exhibition, named “Present from the Past,” was held by the Vietnam Centre (VNC) – a non-government and non-profit organisation that promotes Vietnamese culture to the world.
Though the Nguyen Dynasty lasted only 143 years, the imprints it left on Vietnam’s cultural identity are undeniably profound and impactful. The culture of that time has been an endless inspiration and abundant resource for artists and designers.
The exhibition aimed to introduce artworks and designs inspired by that time as well as the sophisticated and opulent vestiges of Vietnam’s last dynasty which were created by Vietnamese contemporary artists, most of whom are in their 20s.
Among those displayed at the event were collections of reconstructed Vietnamese ancient items, imperial costumes and paintings alongside modernised Vietnamese ancient clothing. Photos of architectural works built in the Nguyen era were also exhibited.
Notably, the audience was fascinated by a pair of “phap lam” vases with illustrations of northern dances and the motif of “to nu” (Fair Maidens). “Phap lam” is a technique of enameling ceramics on a metal base (gold, silver, copper) introduced to Vietnam in the early 19th century. At its finest, the products of “phap lam” are considered a combination of the ceramic industry with jewellery. Those products used to be produced only for Nguyen royalty.
According to Hanh Nguyen, a member of organizing team, the exhibition was supported by Y Van Hien, a Hanoi-based company that produces reconstructed Vietnamese ancient attire./.