|An exhibition 22 years in the making|
|15:26' 05/07/2007 (GMT+7)|
VietNamNet Bridge – For the past few days, Lotus Gallery, 43 Dong Khoi, HCM City, has been offering Life Around Us, the first exhibition ever of a 75-year-old painter who has painted all her life.
For the last 3 years, painter Pham Thi Nga, or Ngoc Nga, has been unable to pick up a brush. A mental illness of old age makes her head ache, her hand shake and her body weary every time she tries to concentrate on thinking or painting. But she used to paint a great deal for years. Her paintings accumulated as time went by.
It wasn’t enough to store them in a separate room. She had to make use of her bedroom and a corner of the attic as well. Graduating from a programme at Hanoi Art University in 1960, Ngoc Nga first worked as a textbook illustrator at Hanoi University of Medicine and Pharmacy. In 1985, her family moved south.
And from then on, she was engaged in serious painting. But despite a large number of works, she never had any exhibition before Life around Us, though she wanted it very much, especially in recent years. And the reason? She said she was unconfident and shy.
“Young artists now paint with too modern a style. I was afraid my paintings wouldn’t suit the age,” said the old painter slowly and with great difficulty – the illness makes it very hard for her to speak, though she understands everything one says.
Family and friends were thus afraid that in a short while she wouldn’t be as clear-minded as she is now, so they persuaded her to organise an exhibition at all costs. She agreed at last. And Life around Us was opened on June 28 to mark her 75th birthday.
And visitors have been saying that her paintings aren’t so much sharp-witted as they are passionate, kind and feminine with colours like brown, indigo, deep blue and dark yellow that speak much of her home village in Tu Liem district, Hanoi and other beautiful places in Vietnam she traveled to when she was still healthy.
Banyan trees, white storks, terraced fields, village festivals, winter mornings in Hanoi, faces of friends, grandchildren and family all captivated the female artist and appear in her paintings. But many have been particularly impressed by the image of a lone man rounding a cow herd home in the sunset on Phu Quoc Island.
Ngoc Nga was struck by the poetic beauty of the sight and quickly took out her brush to capture the moment forever in a painting titled Phu Quoc Dusk during a visit to the island with her husband. Many other paintings of hers were similarly created on the road.
(Source: Tuoi Tre)
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