Painter Nguyen Thuong Hy: I was inspired by drawing mural paintings in Tam Thanh

Tuesday, 2020-06-09 09:45:51
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Artist Nguyen Thuong Hy poses with his painting on a coracle in Tam Thanh commune in Tam Ky City. (Photo credit: Nguyen Thuong Hy)
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NDO – Painter and cultural researcher Nguyen Thuong Hy has worked at the Quang Nam provincial Museum for many years. He has joined a project which was launched in 2016 to create mural paintings in Tam Thanh commune, Tam Ky city, Quang Nam province. He recently had a conversation with the Thoi Nay (Today) publication of Nhan Dan (The People) Newspaper to update readers on the project.

Question: What brought you to the project on creating mural paintings in Tam Thanh commune?

Painter Nguyen Thuong Hy: In 2016, I read a short news article in a local newspaper reporting that a group of volunteer artists from the Republic of Korea were doing a project on creating mural paintings in Tam Thanh. The commune had grown into a popular tourist attraction at that time. It includes 13 wards and four hamlets in Tam Ky city.

I joined the foreign painters then to cover the walls and fences of selected houses in the commune with lively pictures. The oldest member among them was 73 years old, one whom I often talked with.

Can you tell us more about the project and your impressions of the group of foreign artists?

They mobilised painters whose paintings were sold at high prices in the RoK to become volunteer painters for the project, which aimed to create mural paintings on the walls of local poor households, thus stimulating tourism and improving locals’ income. A similar project had been implemented successfully in a poor village in the RoK.

The first paintings drawn under the project were inspired by the portraits and daily lives of local people. They feature young women wearing Ao Dai and conical hats, children playing volleyball on the beach, and a tailor working in her house.

The paintings were so realistic and lively that they dazzled both locals and visitors, who can also interact with the artwork. For example, standing in front of a painting of a girl reaching out to give a bunch of flowers, viewers can pose as if they are receiving it. For another one which features a girl catching butterflies, they can act in the same manner to create interesting photos.

The painters have thereby promoted their creativity to create a connection between viewers and the paintings.

Five artists exchange camps have been held since 2016 for painters from the two countries who have joined the project. The latest one was held from May 23 to June 2 and it attracted 18 painters from Vietnam’s northern region as well as fine arts teachers and amateur artists from the locality. As a participant at the event, can you tell us more about it?

The first two camps hosted by the RoK artists focused on mural paintings. In the third edition, we came up with the idea of paintings on coracles, which are very popular among fishermen in the central region. Paintings on the round-shaped boats can create fascinating visual effects and it is also an interesting working experience for participating artists.

At the latest artist exchange camp, up to 100 coracles and five walls in Tam Thanh were redecorated. There were also three iron sculptures by artists from the northern region. I was inspired by drawing mural paintings and exchanged many experiences with younger colleagues.

Thank you so much for your sharing!

Coracles covered with colourful paintings on display in Tam Thanh commune (Photo: V.T. Phan)