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Artistic pottery exhibition to be held in Da Nang (October 16, 2004)

Vu Huu Nhung, the creator of decorative pottery-wares offered to distinguished guests at the recent ASEM 5 Summit, displayed his finest pottery-wares at an exhibition opened yesterday in the Central Vietnam city of Da Nang .

Exquisite pottery-wares including paintings, vases, pots, jars and more are on display in Truc Lam Vien Café, well-known for its distinctive wooden Hue Imperial Palace style house and its extensive pleasure garden designed to give an impression of limitless grandeur.

“This exhibition will definitely attract the enthusiastic interest of the public, art lovers and architects alike in Central Vietnam,” said an art critic.

Nhung’s style, a combination of elegant academic finesse coupled with a sense of abstraction and elaborate mosaic decorations, reflects his philosophy of life.

“Academic art is what I strive for in the long run,” Nhung highlighted. “However, I also realise the needs of the general public,” he added.

It is because of this practicality that the 30-year-old pottery maker from the northern province of Bac Ninh has won critical acclaim from artists and financial success as well.

Born and raised in the famous pottery village of Phu Lang, Nhung spent most of his childhood immersed in the world of pottery-making and thus developed a penchant for this traditional craft, he said.

Upon his graduation from the Industrial Fine Arts University in Hanoi in 1999, Nhung immediately headed home with an undaunted determination to revive his village’s traditional handicraft which had been on its last legs.

According to Nhung, it was extremely difficult to change the old-fashioned and outmoded ideas of pottery-making which was deeply rooted in the mind of his folks.

In fact, for generations Phu Lang pottery makers had got used to churning out simple terra cotta wares such as jars, pots and other small items of little value, he said. Those items could only be sold at small local markets, he stressed.

A drastic change occurred in Phu Lang pottery village in 2000, when Nhung decided to breathe new life into the timeless technology of pottery-making. He boldly introduced a new mode of production in his own workshop, which involved applying contemporary artistic designs on traditional materials.

Thus, Nhung is somewhat of a pioneer in producing artistic pottery, giving weight to the reputation of Phu Lang pottery in that “he adds his own ideas to already well-established pottery traditions and creates pieces that embody the heart and soul of Vietnam,” hailed the British Council who granted him the ‘Golden Hands’ prize in 2000.

Nhung has gone on to greater success since he won the third prize for his pottery piece entitled ‘Meeting’ at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in 2003.

His impressive pottery exhibition in Hang Bai Exhibition Center in 2003 eventually secured his financial position and reputation.

Nhung has further expanded the scope of his business in 2004 by forming a variety of high-profile partnerships, Nhung reported.

He recently entered into an agreement with the Bac Ninh People’s Committee to open a large showroom in Chau Phong Village, a popular stopover for foreign tourists on their way to Ha Long Bay, designated as a Natural World Heritage Site in 1994 by UNESCO, he said.

He has also achieved a sharp increase in exports in the last couple of years, with more and more pottery bearing the distinguished trademark of ‘Gom Nhung – Phu Lang’ shipped to chic foreign markets such as Japan, the United States and more, he highlighted.

50 artistic pottery items fashioned by Nhung himself were offered as gifts to the foreign distinguished guests attending the fifth Asia-Europe Meeting in Hanoi on October 8-9, 2004, Nhung proudly said.

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper


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