Culture Culture

03/11/2019 - 07:50

Nguyen Luong Sang & the story of the sea

Nguyen Luong Sang’s art exhibition “The Sea of Life” at New Space Arts Foundation from September 28 to October 28 present to the public 18 paintings and 3 works of installation art.


This is the story of his journeys and love of the sea by the artist from Quang Binh.

Artist Nguyen Luong Sang

The most impressive is the works of installation art created from the wreckage, boat wood and metal that he collected along the coasts of Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue.

“The sea story 1” tells about the floating of objects, like the human ups and downs in the subsistence. The journey of the floating objects is comparable to that of a human life that has a beginning, an unidentified drift and then an end.

“The sea story 2” touches the hardship of the seaman in life and in the course of protecting the national sovereignty in the sea. It is underlain in the offshore wreckage drifted ashore as a life cycle return to where it originated.

In the exhibition “The Sea of Life” each of the oil on canvas or acrylic paintings, inspired from his impression of the sea, is a story on its own right. The work “Betwixt and Between” (consolation prize winning at the 2019 art exhibition in North Central region) reflects the emotion at the image of a young lady. Neither leaving nor staying, it is a real emotional dilemma through time. On the navy-blue background, the character seems to crack in the mixed and tormented emotions.

The collection “The Sea of Life”, including 4 segments, was inspired from the bottoms of the fishing boats, surfing smoothly at some time and struggling in front of storms at some other time. These were the life jigsaws that Nguyen Luong Sang fitted together to make a life story with sorrow and happiness, with joy, long wait and separation, all co-existing.

Viewers will find in them the vast silence that is either stifling, dreamy or exciting. 

The work “Betwixt and Between”

Other works displayed the desire to bounce pleasantly in the sea. In the work “Waiting” the artist showed an aspiration to reach the far-off sea. In the work “Towards the sea” the longing for sea can be found everywhere.

Born in a coastal village, Nguyen Quang Sang has always seen the sea first thing every day since childhood. The images of the boats going to the sea and the women with the bamboo frames on their shoulders rushing on the sandy beach with bare feet always attract him.

Since 2017, he has only created works about the sea, which are both philosophical and iconic. The sea is love and obsession hard to let go.

The artist said, “I always try to seek an explanation for the sea-related matters. I love the sea with gratitude for bringing me series of ideas and emotions for creation. The sea is like human life, sometimes smooth and tranquil with the golden sunlight at dawn, but sometimes frantic with white waves and angry storms resembling the fluctuations in human life. The sea is also a crucial part of the fatherland.”

Considering the sea as a friend, Nguyen Luong Sang finds that there are many stories within it. He spent days roaming the sea and realized that numerous things floating in the sea. Many of these no longer remained its original shapes; they were rubbed, molded or crushed. It was evidence of a valuable courage essential for a life journey, which inspired him for the works.

The work “The Sea Story 2”

Nguyen Luong Sang’s description of the sea is iconic. He painted the sea in black, grey and brown, underlying signals and suggestive images of the sea such as the hurricane lamp, the snail, the anchor or the boat stern.

He said, “through the experiences with and explorations of the sea, I would like to have the sea of my own. The sea in my works is symbolic. The story of the human life in the sea is a real message I would like to get across.”

Nguyen Luong Sang was born in Quang Binh in 1981 to a family with many generations involved in folk arts. He was taught how to paint by his grandfather when he was a child. In love with colors and shapes, he chose to study at the College of Fine Art, Hue University. He is now a lecturer at Quang Binh University.

Apart from working, he spends most of his spare time painting and participating in regional and national exhibitions, group exhibitions, composing camps and workshops. In addition to the theme on the sea, Nguyen Luong Sang is also inspired by the theme on post war with obsession and loss in war.

Story and photos: Trang Hien