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08/10/2022 - 09:02

Entrepreneur to Hue should also foster culture

There is an entrepreneur holding dual nationality, with a French father and a mother from South Vietnam. She, though not a Hue woman, has been attached to Hue and strangely crazy about Hue for more than 20 years now. That is also why she transferred most of her cultural and artistic assets to Hue, devoting a luxurious and spacious space inherently for profitable business purposes to building a non-public museum of fine arts.

That is entrepreneur Cecile Le Pham, Chairman of the Board of Directors of a garment corporation with factories in Hue, Da Nang, and Quang Nam. Her corporation is also the number one partner, sponsoring three orphanages: one in Da Nang and two in Hau Giang.

I shared my joy with her when the People's Committee of Thua Thien Hue Province decided to grant the license for the operation of the Cecile Le Pham Museum of Fine Arts (at No. 53 Ham Nghi Street, Hue City) through the following conversation.

Entrepreneur Cecile Le Pham. Photo: TL

As an entrepreneur, what motivates you to give your mind to production - business and fostering culture?

Back to the homeland from overseas to do business, I suppose that first of all, in many ways, I must confirm myself as Vietnamese. Therefore, as an entrepreneur, aside from transacting business, I have a duty to the country and a deep attachment to the place where I do business and live in my own way.

Upon my return to Hue, I understood and learned more about Vietnamese culture, especially the values ​​and identity of Hue culture. Since then, I have thought, as an entrepreneur to Hue doing business, I should also contribute to fostering the culture to the best of my ability.

And have you fostered the culture in your way?

I was fortunate to work and travel to many countries. I wish to bring the cultural quintessence of the world to Vietnam in order that a lot of people, especially young people, can know and benefit from it. I really like the program "Travel through the Small Screen" on VTV.

In my eyes, if the cultural collections of the world are exhibited in a museum, they will work well, offering those who cannot travel abroad places to explore and exchange culture through artworks on display, along with voice-overs by museum staff about exhibits.

It appears that every time you see a beautiful antique, you buy it to your liking, grounded on no criteria, so are the artifacts in this space very plentiful and diverse?

That's right! But I may add that among my collections are also the works presented by friends abroad. They love Vietnam, love me personally, and support my work, so they deposit their artifacts in my museum as a "choice to deposit gold".

But is it this that has posed difficulty to you in the process of dating, determining the origin and value of each artifact as well as classifying works, and organizing exhibitions?

That's right. I invited quite a few experts on antiquities, fine arts, and museums to help appraise the works for classifying and organizing the initial exhibition. Regarded as an initial exhibition because the work is being continued with the artifacts added and the exhibition space expanded if the provincial and city governments lease the French architectural house attached to the land next door.

Enterprises anytime have to worry about capital accumulation, capital mobilization, bank loans, and loan finalization on maturity… Have you ever bought antiques with bank loans?

I don't trade in antiques, so I can't use borrowed capital. Besides, the art assets put into the museum are my personal property, unrelated to the enterprise I am Chairman.

To have a sewing facility on Phan Dinh Phung Street and Cocodo Hotel on Ham Nghi street, she has to rent land. Determining that establishing the museum is unprofitable; will business activities in Hue nurture the museum well?

Of course not. But I can regulate the investment thanks to the revenue from production and business establishments in other areas.

Having a hard time bringing art assets back to Hue to establish the museum, did you derive support from the Thua Thien Hue Province government?

Currently, I derive support for the policy and get the license from the government to establish the museum of fine arts. Although it is slow, the finish line is reached after a long path.

I would like to be facilitated by the government to rent out the house and the abandoned land next door to expand the exhibition space and add more artifacts. This is not only favorable for me personally but also encouraging to those who boldly invest in the cultural area with similar activities to me.

In your view, what benefit does an entrepreneur reap from fostering culture?

 I can only express my personal feelings. I find myself more cheerful and optimistic in life with pride in "making a small contribution" to Hue.

In the process of founding this museum, I have made more good friends in the cultural research and art world. There are friends who regularly follow and share the work with me, energizing me. And maybe I will get "rich thanks to friends"!

You yourself once said that " God does not disappoint humans. Establishing a museum not only manifests cultural bravery but also increases the reputation of an entrepreneur and increases the brand value of the enterprise". To be honest, I have never thought of this; I just dedicate myself to work.

After your generation, how will this museum exist?

My family members agreed. Although they are not Hue people, the cultural and artistic assets that were put into the museum will be left in Hue.

Aside from the family members who are the owners, I thought of promoting the establishment of a museum management board, which includes an art board covering curators and cultural researchers with museology expertise. The Management Board and the Art Board will guide and decide the development and promotion of the museum's value.

Thank you for this conversation!

By THANH TUNG

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