Life Life

23/02/2022 - 07:59

Back to Hue with BOARC

For all the Vietnamese record set and the world record established for the unique BOARC art form, Hoang Tuan Long felt uneasy about his promise to "do something for Hue"...

Work of One Pillar Pagoda from bamboo toothpicks

Each work, one story, one event

BOARC (Bamboo Acrylic Art - The art of recreating miniature works with bamboo toothpicks and laser technology on acrylic sheets) goes hand in hand with the name of master, architect Hoang Tuan Long for nearly 10 years.

BOARC models with a scale of 1:100 such as One Pillar Pagoda, Ngo Mon Quan (Meridian Gate), Ben Thanh Market... Big Ben Clock Tower (England), Taj Mahal Temple (India), Sheikh Zayed Mosque (Abu Dhabi), the Capitol (the miniature US Congress building)...get the audience to constantly admire the talent of this Hue-born architect.

The evidence is that Museum "Ripley's Believe It or Not" (a museum specializing in the collection of strange artifacts worldwide) ordered the miniature Capitol in order to display at the exhibition on the 100th anniversary of Ripley held in Dubai, the UAE    (the Middle East) in 2016...

Mr. Edward Meyer, Deputy Director in charge of Ripley's Exhibition and Archives at that time blurted out, “The bamboo toothpick model of the US Capitol is unbelievably magnificent. It is a favorite in our collection.”

In the introduction attached to the model, Mr. Edward wrote: Ripley's owns dozens of beautiful models made of matchsticks and toothpicks, but this is our first bamboo toothpick sculpture, and it especially comes from Vietnam. We marvel at the craftsmanship and dedication to creating this extraordinary model and proudly display it at Believe It or Not events.

Hoang Tuan Long with the work "Revival" after discharge from the hospital

Graduating from the Faculty of Architecture, Belorussia Polytechnic University in Belarus, from his love of creating scale models and sand model, he began to make miniature Vietnamese cultural works with bamboo toothpicks. Each BOARC work includes the stages: conceptualizing - designing - cutting and forming mock-up - positioning with toothpicks – piercing with toothpicks - finalizing.

“Complexity lies in the design stage because I both draw and imagine the model, calculating the number of holes to pierce with toothpicks for connection. For example the Capitol, I used more than 250,000 toothpicks and more than 1 million holes punched on acrylic. It took nearly half a year to finalize this work of art,” said architect Long.

Doing the job as an architect to sustain BOARC, he puts no emphasis on commercial issues, so this talented architect is comfortable in his creation. He said, “Each work born is associated with a story or event, so my interest in models increases over time.” Perhaps his passion nurtures creativity, rendering his collection more and more mature.

Also, BOARC is a remedy to help him overcome challenges and losses in life.

The work "Revival" has recently been well known and introduced by VTV3 in the news “Images from life". He entertained the idea for 27 days amid the closeness to life-and-death boundary due to COVID-19 infection, the death of relatives, and the hospitalization of the whole family. Lying on the hospital bed, he began to design the work, which takes the form of a mandala with the image of a mother sitting under a tree in bud.

“The work commemorates the mother who passed away and reminds me about my aspiration to struggle for survival and overcome the pain and loss in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” confided Hoang Tuan Long.

Hue lotus and Hue logo made of bamboo toothpicks

Little cherished wish for a gallery

Every year, he returns to his hometown to be immersed in the culture of Hương Ngự region (region of the Hương River and Ngự Mountain). For BOARC founder, Hue space offers him a lot of creative inspiration. In the BOARC treasure of architect Hoang Tuan Long, lotus appears with high frequency.

He said, “I really like lotus flowers and Buddhism. To draw lotus is to remember Hue, to remember the lotus of Tinh Lake (Serene Mind Lake). I have a collection of lotus-related products and will bring it back to Hue for an exhibition if the chance comes.”

Having brought the works to the exhibitions at home and abroad, but he haven't yet done anything for Hue, so when meeting him, his parents often said, "Long, why haven’t you done anything for Hue?” So he took his backpack back to Hue, worked with the authorities to prepare for the launch of Ngũ phụng (Five-Phoenix) Floor model.

At Hue vegetarian meal after the survey, Long said fervently: “With the basic parameters of the original work, everything will go well. I love the lines of Hue Royal Palace architecture and will recreate these arabesque lines with bamboo toothpicks.”

Back to Ho Chi Minh City, where he lives, he eagerly registered his work for Hue Traditional Craft Festival. He kept thinking of lotus, thinking of logos and chose the image of Hue work, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everything.

At the meeting between the provincial leaders and Hue people in Ho Chi Minh City, Tuan Long came with his work to offer, talk and listen. “Some culture and tourism workers are highly supportive of building the typical architectural models of Hue. Maybe it's time for me to fulfill the promise I made to my parents and native land," the architect conceived a plan in the short run.

Architect Tuan Long during the survey at (the Royal Palace)

Deep in his heart, he also wishes to create a job for orphans and disabled children in the stage of making souvenir products from BOARC because only when art creates life values ​​can it be of durable significance. Reviving after a great event, the father of BOARC is planning to recreate the works of Vietnamese heritage in miniature. Also included in that long-term plan is “a little cherished wish” for a private gallery in Hue ancient capital.

If the Hue public has the opportunity to admire the unique works of bamboo toothpicks, I believe that some people will be absolutely amazed at the unexpected creation of visual arts like Ripley's slogan: "Believe It or Not”.

Miniature work of One Pillar Pagoda from BOARC by architect Hoang Tuan Long was recognized Vietnam Record Organization in 2016.

In December 2020, the Council of World Records Union, WorldKings awarded him the certificate establishing the World Record "The first person to create and recreate the models of world-famous architectural heritage works with BOARC art.”

In 2022, architect Hoang Tuan Long performs the work "Mandala Universe" toward Vietnamese record and Asian record.

Story: Tue Ninh

Photos by Tue Ninh and the character in the story