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Chau sculpts legacy of blood and tears (August 02, 2005)

Several hundred works by the late renowned sculptor Diep Minh Chau are making a strong impression on local critics and viewers at a memorial house for him which opened last week in HCM City.

The sculptures depict the country’s historical events and figures, and have been praised by the Ministry of Culture and Information and the HCM City’s Fine Arts Association.

"Chau captured the hearts of art lovers with his creative works. I can see and feel about life and people through his works," said Tran Dang, a young artist from the city’s Fine Arts College.

Dang said he was spellbound by Chau’s paintings and statues because "Chau constantly surprised me with the depth of his emotion and skill. Using various materials such as stone, wood, bronze and gypsum, the artist shows audiences the world of romance, and the heroic traditions of the Vietnamese people."

Born in Ben Tre Province in 1919, Diep Minh Chau dedicated his life to his sculptures. He graduated from the Indochina Fine Arts College in 1945 and continued his studies at the Czech Academy of Fine Arts in what is now the Czech Republic. He died in 2002.

Chau’s outstanding works, including Bac Ho Tuoi Cay Vu Sua (Uncle Ho Waters the Milk Fruit Tree) which was made from tram (cajuput) bark and Ba Me To Quoc (Motherland), were stored and displayed by many prestigious museums, cultural houses and parks around the country.

Chau’s most salient work is Bac Ho Voi Thieu Nhi Mien Nam (Uncle Ho with Southern Children), which he painted using his own blood in 1947 while he was working in the Dong Thap resistance base.

The blood painting, currently housed in Ha Noi’s Viet Nam Fine Arts Museum, brought tears to the eyes of many soldiers who faced hard challenges and made sacrifices in the war against the French.

For his contribution to the country’s sculpture, Chau received the Ho Chi Minh Award for Culture and Arts in 1996.

Chau’s family, friends and students opened the memorial house which aims to introduce "the life and work of an artist who infused the lifestyle and characteristics of Vietnamese people in his works," said Chau’s wife, artist Phuong Dung.

Dung added that even the most talented artists lack an audience if they have no place to display their work. "And that happens often to our artists."

"I hope the memorial house, located at our home, is like a small museum where art lovers can share their passions and thoughts together."

The house is open every day at 361/8 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street in District 3. — VNS

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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