Entitled Miền Ký Ức (Land of Memories), the exhibition features 30 works, most of which are lacquer and water colour paintings like Ca Tru (Ceremonial Singing), Chùa Tây Phương (Tay Phuong Pagoda) and Cổng Làng (Village Gate).

Exhibition,painter Chu Manh Chan
Senior painter Chu Manh Chan is seen next to one of his works. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Fine Arts Museum

The exhibition also includes the 4m x 2.5m lacquer painting entitled Hội Chùa Thầy (Thay Pagoda Festival) that vividly portrays the atmosphere of the biggest festival in ancient Doai Village with pilgrims and traditional games in the background of a charming mountainous area.

A collector reportedly offered VND5 billion (US$217,000) for the painting but Chan refused to sell it.

Speaking at his first solo exhibition, Chan said his paintings were inspired by his memories of his hometown from adolescence to adulthood and until now.

“They are the sentiment, profound spiritual morality and the life force nourishing my soul, and also the desire to continue the tradition of my family and homeland.

“I want to retain all that sentiment. Now I understand that traditions and human affection must always be respected and preserved. That’s why I’m constantly trying to manifest what the elderly have told me into paintings, which has given me more affection for my homeland, more strength and more passion to forget ageing and hardships. I have retained my childhood memories that will never fade," the painter said.

Exhibition,painter Chu Manh Chan
Land of Memories exhibition introduces to public the large lacquer painting entitled Hội Chùa Thầy by Chu Manh Chan. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Fine Arts Museum

According to poet and painter Nguyen Quang Thieu, Chan is one of the revivers of forgotten Vietnamese cultural beauty.

“The paintings portraying the past, demonstrated by means of traditional lacquer techniques, have empowered Chan to revive ancient beauty in modern life,” he said.

Chan was born in 1933 in Chang Son Village, Thach That District on the outskirts of Hanoi. He used to work as a lecturer at the Ha Tay School of Fine Arts, specialising in creating models in mosaic, lacquer, bamboo and rattan for artisans in craft villages.

In 2020, Chan was honoured with the title of 'People's Artist' for his contribution to traditional crafts.

Besides designing and teaching applied art, Chan is also a lacquer painter. He has painted many works about his hometown showcasing its charming poetic scenery and traditional festivals.

The exhibition is open until the end of April 3.


Handicraft artisans get honourable titles

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