Culture Culture

09/08/2019 - 07:03

Hoang Thi Ngoc An and the walk with watercolor and Dó paper

Hoang Thi Ngoc An, a painter of Hue origin, living in Belgium has had a return to her homeland with paintings on Dó paper that depict a beautiful soul of a Vietnamese.

Hoang Thi Ngoc An, the painter

The exhibition entitled "The walk" with 26 works (presented at the French Institute in Hue from July 17 to August 3) is seen as the painter's walk with watercolor, Indian ink and Dó paper.

Meditation, invocation, dream, return, traces or dance and phoenix rebirth ..., featuring the fragile beauty of women, are evoked by the sketchy lines made by paintbrushes, color and water, together with a unique use of contrast between dark and light areas.

“Sea Flowers”

Ms. Ngoc An shared that painting on Dó paper has always been a special excitement of hers from the day she was away from her homeland. In 1992, when settling down in Belgium, by chance, she brought some Dó papers, that she bought in Vietnam 2 years ago, to try out some drawings. The reactions of Dó papers against the colors have created unique lines and hues. These have mesmerized her so powerfully from then on.

"The effect of water, Indian ink or color on the paper creates unexpected and spontaneous variations that go far beyond my initial intention. Sometimes, I was drawing a standing person but it turned out to be a dancing one. The color effect that comes in the end also surprises me as the author”, shared the painter.


Carrying almost no thoughtful messages or deep philosophies, Dó paper paintings, with this female artist, are simply a game amongst water that runs, ink that spreads and paper that absorbs... Being passionate about this type of painting, Hoang Thi Ngoc An decided to choose it as her own journey to express a rustic but strange and impressive style. What makes her works more unique is that she knows how to combine European art and the Vietnamese material to produce a beautiful convergence of European - Asian cultures in the way she perceives.

With this genre of paintings, Ngoc An likes to describe the beauty of the woman which is both imaginary and dreamy, provoking reflections about their fragile, lonely and weak parts. Unintentionally, the scenes dimmed with fairy tales and the fragile streaks of color seem to lure viewers into the world of nothingness. Perhaps so, Ngoc An's paintings always exudes Asian mythical identity.

Nurturing the passion from the early days of being a Dong Khanh schoolgirl, Hoang Thi Ngoc An found ways to learn silk paintings and sketching portraits with two painters, Nguyen Dong Son and Nguyen Thi Tam. Since the time in Hue, Ngoc An has drawn only to please her affection. She is also interested in embellishing silk scarfs with her artistic lines.

Each gorgeous, colorful scarf is actually a work of art that she dedicates to her friends and loved ones. Occasionally, she also sketches landscapes and still objects on silk, with acrylic and oil painting or creates statues from earth, wax, and wood.

To the painter, painting is like a cure of life. Every time she holds the brushes, she leaves all the reality behind to sink into the world of art. Not only creating paintings on Dó paper, she also does them on bamboo papers, newspapers or calendar sheets...

Sometimes without even using a brush, but just a stick, she can spot the ink and a work is born in just a few minutes. From the damaged Dó paper paintings, she also makes tear-off paintings, creating compositions with stunningly beautiful layouts and colors.


Since 2001, the works of Ms. Ngoc An have been introduced in Belgium as representatives of the Vietnamese community in the Vietnamese cultural week in Liège (Belgium). Since then, almost every year, her works have been showcased in Belgium and entitled to many awards.

Commenting on her paintings, a Belgian newspaper wrote: "Hoang Thi Ngoc An, a Vietnamese who now lives in Belgium, has breathed the vitality to the paintings by linking East and West. There is something gentle, delicate coming out of that bunch of pure lilies painted in watercolor ...”.

Story and photos: Trang Hien