JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Meet one of Vietnam's leading artists in silk painting

Meet one of Vietnam's leading artists in silk painting

Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 09:43 GMT+7
Meet one of Vietnam's leading artists in silk painting
Rinse rice, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang

It is not a surprise for an artist to hold a personal exhibition at the age of 75, but such a exhibit is really inspirational to both the public and other artists in Vietnam because of the woman behind it: Hoang Minh Hang.

She is one of the most well-known artists of silk painting in the country still working now despite old age.

A new path of creativity

On March 23, Hang held her second solo exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City, which was also her fourth in her art career.

In Vietnam, Hang’s number of solo exhibitions can be modest in comparison with some of the other renowned artists.

The quality, however, cannot always be judged from the quantity. This is true for artist Hang.

Hang said she could work as a ‘full-time’ silk painter for just two more years after moving into a new apartment in Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, about 120km from Ho Chi Minh City.

Living there alone, she can spend all day drawing without having to take care of her children and grandchildren as usual.

“It will be extremely difficult for me to paint silk when I am short of time," Hang told Tuoi Tre News.

"Sometimes, it would take me a few months to paint such a drawing."

That is why the artist made a lot of drawings of pastel and tempera on 'do,' a special kind of paper. Because of a dearth of time, she had no options of material other than using these materials.

After devoting many years to caring for children and grandchildren, the female artist feels happy to be able to live for herself and for the arts to the fullest.

At the age of 75, Hang returns to painting in silk, which has been her ambition for decades.

In her paintings, she does not try to convey any lofty ideas, but ‘records’ whispering sounds from nature and transform them into pieces of silk in a sincere way. 

Grass flowers, silk painting, 87cmx157cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Grass flowers, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang 

An expert in silk painting

In her most recent exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City, Hang displayed 15 big silk paintings with large dimensions of 70 centimeters to one meter in height and one to two meters in width.

To many in public, the painting’s big dimensions may not be something special. To artists, however, this fact reflects a certain skill level of the painter.

“When you draw in a big painting, it will be easier for your faults and limitations to be revealed,” explained Hang.

Artist Hoang Minh Hang talks with her two friends, the artist Le Dan (left) and the sculptor Tran Luan Tin at Eight Gallery in Ho Chi Minh City during her third solo exhibition in the city on March 24, 2021. Photo: Kim Thoa / Tuoi Tre

Artist Hoang Minh Hang talks with her two friends, artist Le Dan (left) and sculptor Tran Luan Tin at Eight Gallery in Ho Chi Minh City during her second solo exhibition on March 24, 2021. Photo: Kim Thoa / Tuoi Tre

Many other artists agree with the female painter on this.

In many people’s opinions, an artist’s capability to brush on a big frame of material such as a large piece of silk can be considered a premier test of their level.

Many artists acknowledge they can paint comfortably small paintings but find a challenging obstacle to express themselves on a bigger-size work of art. So, they will need confidence to create an artwork in big dimensions.

It is extremely difficult for the artist to fix when they have any fault while drawing in silk material, which is also one of the most difficult characteristics of this kind of art, according to many people in the circle.

Hang has discovered a unique technique after decades of pursuing the art of painting.

Many generations of students from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Fine Arts have learned from the 'master of silk painting,' including some of the most famous silk drawing artists to date in Vietnam.

The technique of drawing without the need to wash silk can be called one of the biggest discoveries made by Hang.

She tried to look for an alternative after finding that a piece of silk gradually loses its natural luster after being washed with water many times as per traditional guidelines.

After many trials of various methods, she figured out the way of using a big wet brush to 'wash' in her way that helps the silk paintings maintain the natural luster while preserving their smoothness and transparency.

Although it took her many hours of work to find out the technique, Hang has always been willing to share it with anyone who wants to learn.

“Technical skills are things that anyone can learn,” she said.

“The technique can’t replace the artist’s creativity and characteristic style even if it is extremely skillful.

“To me, the artist who wants to touch people’s souls and emotions with their works must have an open mind.

"You need to be sincere and simple to be able to make artworks that touch others’ souls."

With all her achievements, Hang can be proud of her remarkable contributions to a successful generation of silk painting artists such as Nguyen Phan Chanh, To Ngoc Van, Nguyen Tien Chung, Luu Dinh Khai, Le Pho, Mai Thu, Le Thi Luu, and others.

Confederate Rose, painting on “do” paper, 76cmx106cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Confederate Rose, a painting on 'do' paper by artist Hoang Minh Hang 

Paphiopedilum, silk painting, 68cmx120cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Paphiopedilum, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang 

Landscape of Ninh Binh, silk painting, 87cmx197cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Landscape of Ninh Binh, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang  

Wooden rafts in Sam Son Beach, silk painting, 75cmx167cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Wooden rafts in Sam Son Beach, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang 

Dug-out canoes, silk painting, 76cmx147cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Dugout canoes, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang

Nervilis plicata, silk painting, 60cmx88cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Nervilis plicata, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang

Sea at night, silk painting, 78cmx118cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Sea at night, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang 

Nha Trang Sea, silk painting, 87cmx157cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Nha Trang Sea, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang  

Vung Tau Sea, silk painting, 81cmx176cm by the artist Hoang Minh Hang in a supplied photo.

Vung Tau Sea, a silk painting by artist Hoang Minh Hang

Born in 1946, Hoang Minh Hang is a member of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association and a member of the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association.

Hang graduated from the Vietnam Fine Arts University in Hanoi in 1972.

She held her first solo exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City in 1989, her second in Ho Chi Minh City in 1994, her third in Hanoi in 2002, and her fourth in Ho Chi Minh City in March-April 2021.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Kim Thoa / Tuoi Tre News

More

;

Photos

VIDEOS

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Latest news