Culture Culture

24/09/2021 - 08:30

Le Linh: I paint my beloved fatherland

Le Linh was born during the 1990s and grow up at Tuy An-a coastal district in Phu Yen Province. Linh graduated from Hue University, College of Arts in 2017 with her thesis “Music in some Paintings.”

In her early years at school, Linh began to draw faces and flowers which she called doodles. 

Le Linh

“As soon as I started to hold a pen in hand, I drew letters and everything I liked in a naive manner. When I was a little older, seeing some paintings on TV and in my brother’s and sister’s magazines, I gradually figured out what painting was and the notion of a painter. Later on, I took the entrance exam into College of Arts, Hue University.”

The series of paintings that Linh has pursued the longest is paintings of flowers in watercolor on paper, since the time she was a student at the art school now. Watching Linh's flower paintings, one can visualize her slow and strong brush strokes, which she “dropped” with care.

Those paintings remind me of a garden which has just woken up after a long sleep. It is not “muscular” and noisy, but pretty, dewy, and virgin. The contrast between dreaming and reality is like a signal of the inner transformation from carefree innocence to sadness. People there need some innocence, but in the end, they return to their concerns. Those paintings suggest a house with only women and children. In the distance are very slow voices of the day.

- What are you spending your youth on?

- On dreaming and materializing those dreams.

- Doesn’t it sound so neat? Why don’t you first fulfill your dream then dream another?

- It’s so tiring. How do I find time for wandering then?

- Dreaming is also playing without returning…

Linh is very scarce in words when naming her paintings. “Looking” and “Smiling” are the two paintings in which Linh painted children in watercolor on paper. They are her two mature paintings implying the limit of freedom and the insecurity of human life.

Probably children are not interested in Linh’s paintings because they find nothing in common with them. Adults are either undecided or interested, depending on their feelings. 

A Luoi Landscape

“I seem to know what sadness is. It often takes me from the ground to distant stars to paint the melody of light resounding in the dark. I look at temples to paint the time on walls. I behold flowers to paint my childhood. I sink myself into the river to hear the rhythms of sadness drifting away. And I paint my regret.”

Linh's painting “Flowers and Fish” portrays the nature of a coastal area. It was originally a sketch in acrylic on paper in 2014, but it was lost. Linh repainted it in lacquer. The painting is on display at the Hue College of Arts.

Linh painted a lot during her five years at school. She walked along the rivers and roads, crossed many bridges to make her first pen nib sketches.


I imagine Linh's footsteps. Probably she was alone with lots of difficulties, but she definitely had absolute freedom. Linh could paint what she liked. She might feel satisfied with or depressed about her “kids” and no criticism could bother her. At the time, just the sun, wind, and fog remained.

Linh holds the brush and roams in her dreams. Two sketches “Dien Tho Palace” and “Part of the Agriculture and Forestry College” in 2016 are examples of the time when Linh “began to understand sadness, happiness, loving, missing, and dreaming” in Hue. 

In the year of the Rooster, Linh started to paint chickens in watercolor. It was not a new theme and many artists had painted their masterpieces. Linh tried painting the chicken from her own perspective about the year animals of Vietnam.

“The Battle”, “The Merry Song,” and “Victory and Defeat” are her three impressive paintings on display at the exhibition "Spring and the Year Animals" at Hue Cultural Museum organized by the Union of Arts and Culture Associations of Thua Thien Hue and the provincial Fine Arts Association.

The Battle

Linh has won several awards and participated in a number of art exhibitions and her paintings are being collected by some art collectors. She has tried many genres such as calligraphy, portrait sketching, landscape sketching, watercolor, acrylic, etc. Her painting journeys to Phong Dien, A Luoi,… in the past few years shows her maturity in both content and style.

“As of now, I often think of my grandparents’ garden or the hillside land with fruit trees such as jackfruit, mango, guava, banana or vegetables and wildflowers. I cannot forget the moments when I stood on the bridge waiting for sunrise or sunset. I’ll paint my fatherland with dear images and beloved faces since I know they all will be fading with time just as I left my childhood behind too.”

Le Linh is a young painter, both in age and profession. Everything is still ahead. But her finished works are a good signal.

Story and photos: NGUYEN HUONG