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Co Do- A village of paintings (December 04, 2004)

A painting class by painter Hoang Tuan Viet. Photo: Ngo Du Children from other localities come to Co Do to learn painting. Photo: Ngo Du

In the stretch between the two T-junctions where the Red River is cut by the Lo River and the Da River lies a small village named Co Do. It is located in Ba Vi district, Ha Tay province.

A section of the Red River dyke covered with soft and green grass leads to the peaceful Co Do Village. The peacefulness of the village creates a magic attraction that helps establish the styles and talents of painting lovers there.

Late painter Si Tot was the first to develop the idea of bringing painting to the life of Co Do villagers. At first he taught his relatives only but other young villagers were attracted to the art. Tot taught the practitioners to draw on earth with coal, bricks or sticks before using paper as a way to save up the valuable material in the poor village. What they drew included the views of the village, the people or the objects very closely associated to the daily life of the Co Do people.

Many disabled army men, including Nguyen Ngoc Cui, became painters after learning painting in Co Do. Photo: Ngo Du "Daily life" by Hoang Tuan Viet.

Famous artists emerging from the village drawing movement include Si Tuan, Si Thiet, Ngo Binh Thiem, Giang Khich, Sao Mai, Tran Hoa, and Nguyen La Vuong. Up to now, about 40 Co Do painters have become members of the province's Fine Arts Association or the Vietnam's Fine Arts Association. Painter Hoang Tuan Viet, lecturer at the Co Do Secondary School, said the village has opened a painting class for the disabled. Having finished the courses, trainees acquire basic knowledge of the art and develop higher skills which serve as a way to earn their living. Quite a few of Co Do villagers have established family studios.

"Peacefulness" by disabled painter Nguyen Ngoc Cui. "Peaceful life" by Tran Hoa.

Every year Co Do holds its own painting contests for villagers. Many works by amateur painters have been selected as entries for national and international exhibitions in France, Canada and Switzerland.

According to painter Tran Hoa, contemporary Co Do painters want to develop the village into a craft entity. The club invites anyone with a passion for painting to join, regardless of their artist skills. The coming into being of the painting craft village of Co Do creates a new sketch in the common development of Vietnam's painting.

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper


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