Culture Culture

25/01/2019 - 07:49

Thai’s aspirations

Rustic and simple, paintings of artist Pham Dinh Thai also express faith, courage and love of life.


Occasionally, disabled artist Pham Dinh Thai (born in 1988 in Phu Bai, Huong Thuy) participates in some exhibitions organized by Thua Thien Hue Fine Arts Association. Quiet and humble compared to the works of famous painters, Thai’s lacquer paintings are rustic and simple. Yet behind them is his vitality, aspirations and intense passion for art. 

Born deaf, Thai has always carried this sadness from young age. After finishing lower-secondary school, Thai approached painting with a great desire to express his feelings. Thanks to the introduction of a father's friend, Thai went to Nguyen Dang Son's studio and was inspired by his artistic passion.

For the past 10 years, in the painting studio of painter Nguyen Dang Son in Huong Ho ward, Thai has been creating lacquer paintings for Nguyen Dang Son, and has also been able to be creative with his passion for art. 

Rice paintings by Pham Dinh Thai

Starting with rice painting, a genre which was quite new in Hue at that time, Thai’s works are highly appreciated by many people. Thai’s rice paintings are mostly still paintings, giving people a relaxed feeling with images of lotus flowers, lilies or the rustic countryside.

Rice paintings require perseverance and meticulousness, so each piece of art took a lot of time to complete. Thai spent his days working at the studio. At night, he carefully roasted rice to create paintings. Each rice painting has up to 20 different shades of light and dark. Thai had to roast the rice well to create the appropriate colors, from white, light yellow, orange to dark brown, chestnut brown, black... Then, he had to painstakingly glue each grain of rice to create a beautiful painting in composition, lines and colors.

Following his success with rice paintings, Pham Dinh Thai explored with lacquer materials. Simply with the landscape in the garden with the rows of areca trees, bananas, simple wild flowers, or an old street corner... Thai’s casual, innocent emotions are expressed through paintings that touch the hearts of viewers. Though the paintings have yet to reach a high level of technicality, viewers can feel the emotion and love of life in each work.

Pham Dinh Thai, the painter

Nguyen Dang Son, the painter, commented: “Thai is gifted. He has a good eye for art. From the simple drawings of those first days, Thai has learned and improved very quickly. Lacquer requires techniques and practice. Thanks to his perseverance and hard work, Thai has mastered the techniques of lacquer, especially the technique of eggshell inlay. Overcoming disability with creativity and energy, Thai tries to express his desires and aspirations through his work.”

Thai comes up with the themes for his paintings by himself.  Elaborate in techniques and materials, Thai’s paintings captivate viewers by the richness of colors and shapes. Nguyen Dang Son was also surprised with the lacquer "Song Trang" (Moon River) by Pham Dinh Thai.

The abstract painting shows a young girl bathing in a romantic moon river. After going on display at the 2016 North Central Exhibition in Quang Tri, a collector from Hanoi bought the painting.

Hardworking and enthusiastic in creating paintings to attend exhibitions, Thai’s works have been displayed at the Spring and Zodiac Animals Exhibition, the March Gifts Exhibition of the Provincial Fine Arts Association, the Aspiration Exhibition, the New Day Exhibition of the Huong River Magazine for artists with disabilities. Thai’s works were also on display at the North Central art exhibition in 2016 and 2018...

Always with a smile on his face, Pham Dinh Thai radiates optimism and innocence. That is also what Thai expresses in his paintings. Thai happily talked about his passion: "Art gives my life more meaning. Whenever I finish a painting, I am always overwhelmed with joy. That painting might not be special to others, but for me, it is my emotions and aspirations of life.”

Story and photos: Trang Hien