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23/12/2017 - 09:50

Uncle Ho in the eyes of artists

For the first time, an extensive exhibition of President Ho Chi Minh has ever been organized at the University of Fine Arts - Hue University on November 29 with the theme of “Our Uncle Ho”.

Uncle Ho’s portrait painted on glass by artist Nguyen Van Hoang

Painting Uncle Ho with deep emotion

The extensive exhibition of President Ho Chi Minh with the theme “Our Uncle Ho” was a collection of 40 works created from various angles but full of emotions expressed at beloved Uncle Ho. With a rich source of materials, including carving relief around a bust; acrylic painting and oil painting; graphics with printed pictures. There were even works of art designed with special materials; for example, Uncle Ho’s bust was made of metal, or pictures were painted on glass. Artists have expressed Ho Chi Minh as an icon of the leader’s mentality, the high spirit of humanity, and the ideology and desire for national independence.

Artist Nguyen Vu Lan used synthetics to highlight President Ho’s portrait made of metal. This is a relatively daring exploration of materials, which has probably never been thought of in Vietnam, according to organizers. President Ho Chi Minh, in the work by Assoc. Prof. Dr Phan Thanh Binh, was the image of a leader constantly concerned about the national destiny. Uncle Ho’s image was inspired from a historical document in 1945 which featured his thoughtfulness. This work was surrounded by other applauding works, including a painting about Uncle Ho drawing an Annamiticum rickshaw-puller in a newspaper, literary work “Prison Diary”, and the newspaper Nguoi Cung Kho (“Le Paria”).

The most impressive was the painting of Uncle Ho’s portrait on glass by artist Nguyen Van Hoang. The artist has successfully expressed the President Ho Chi Minh’s charisma through a gentle face and a look full of love. The whole work was painted with his fingers (instead of a paintbrush). The highlight of this painting is the artist’s combination between techniques of modern painting and those of traditional painting on glass.

Artist Nguyen Van Hoang said, “I have been into painting President Ho Chi Minh’s portrait since I was young. We lived next to artist Ton That Dao and my father, artist Con Son, learned from him the techniques of painting portraits. My father later opened a studio specializing in painting portraits, and he became one of the well-known portrait painters in Hue. From my father’s transmission, we father and son collaborated to paint portraits, especially Uncle Ho’s portraits. I have painted 200 Uncle Ho’s portraits, so I have learned by heart the details on his face. Amazingly, I am still moved to tears with respect and love once I paint him. Through this work, I decided on painting on glass which is my family’s traditional art form.”

President Ho Chi Minh’s image from Assoc. Prof., Dr Phan Thanh Binh’s angle 

Authenticity and Inspiration

The exhibition “Our Uncle Ho” was evidence for the implementation of Directive 05 issued by the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee regarding the process of studying and working following the example of Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality and style. Furthermore, it shows the responsibility and love for the beloved leader from all party members and lecturers at the University of Fine Arts - Hue University. After two months launching the movement, all party members and lecturers warmly responded and started creating art works.

Remarkably, a party member student and a Thai sculptor, Pisit, had their works displayed at the exhibition. Despite a head for home in two days, Pisit, made greatest effort to create President Ho’s portrait with pencil. As an only party member student, the fourth-year student majoring in Art Education, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tai, was very excited to have her work exhibited. “Expressing Uncle Ho’s image at Viet Bac base in 1951 in warm colour tone, I was trying to depict Uncle Ho’s thoughtful and concerned face. That this work was selected for the exhibition is my honour as all other works in this gallery are by lecturers.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr Phan Thanh Binh, party committee secretary and rector of the University of Fine Arts, Hue University, said, “It is hard to express the image of Ho Chi Minh in art, but cadres, lecturers, party members and students have created artworks about Uncle Ho in deep affection. This is evidence that party members in my university keeps the image of Uncle Ho deep in their hearts, and his ideology, morality and style in their mind.”

As lecturers of Fine Arts, the artists have weighed professionalism and artistry, so they have tried to explore the materials, techniques, art and artistic expressions for each work to express aesthetic value, authenticity and inspiration to the public.

Assoc. Prof. Dr Phan Thanh Binh added, "Over the past seven years implementing the movement of following President Ho’s example, with numerous exhibitions of paintings of President Ho Chi Minh, there has never been such an exhibition that has dramatic impact on the artist's sentiments like this. The artists expressed their affection for the great father of the nation through their love and responsibility, and self-improve and learn more about Ho Chi Minh’s example of morality and lifestyle accordingly, thereby assuming responsibility in training and fostering talents in fine arts. These paintings are evidence that those artists are examples of teachers teaching, studying and following Ho Chi Minh's moral example.”

Story and photos: Trang Hien

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