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Finn Marrita Nurmiís show is native Vietnamese (September 21, 2005)

No title by Marrita Nurmi.
The first large-scale exhibition of its kind in Finland, Marrita Nurmiís ďLotusĒ will feature the work of Phan Cam Thuong, Nguyen Minh Thanh, Le Quoc Viet, Le Hong Thai, Nguyen Quang Huy and Nguyen Thi Trinh Le.

Van Hoa & The Thao (Culture and Sports) Newspaper spoke with Nurmi about the show after her recent return to Vietnam.

It must be surprising when a Finn becomes a representative for Vietnamese arts in Finland?

I have lived there so long that I feel that my art can only represent Vietnam.

Before going to Vietnam, did you study arts?

I graduated from the Turku Academy of Art. At that time, I was nearly 40. I began with the arts too late. There were times I didnít know which job to follow and didnít know what was suitable for me so this all happened very late. Previously, I had graduated with a masterís degree in biology. If I had followed biology I would be very rich.

Do you regret that?

Though Iíve had little until now, I donít regret it. I live in a leased house. I donít have my own family. The family of my brother and the great-family of my Vietnamese sister-in-law are valuable to me here.

How about art?

Of course, I have my own arts. But thatís a different thing. I came to Vietnam in 1993 because my brother wanted me to help him manage his small bar. I worked part time there. The rest of time I studied lacquer techniques at the Hanoi Arts University with the famous trio of artists, Nguyen Minh Thanh, Nguyen Quang Huy and Nguyen Van Cuong.

I thought of making lacquer on toile frames and in 1994 I had the first personal exhibition at Gallery 43 Trang Tien, Hanoi. At that time, my exhibition was noticeable because the number of foreigners living in Hanoi was small, and even smaller for the number of foreigners who worked with arts. After that, I returned home but a short period of time later my brother called me to come back.

And once again you accepted because there was nothing in your country to keep you there?

What could I do? I love my two nephews. However, when I returned to Vietnam, I experienced a period of time that was like being in jail. I hung about at the bar, returned home, and busied myself with lacquer techniques on toile without improvement. Sometimes, visitors to the bar who knew I painted bought some paintings of mine, but that was all.

But you are still patient with art and now people can see your success, the results of hard training?

I was drawn to painting maybe because I felt it was a challenge. I worked very hard in the hopes that everything would improve. With more painting, I feel more at ease and my heart is warmer. Sometimes I dream of helping others as well.

At an exhibition at Natasha Salon you said that the Buddhist spirit of Vietnam affected your life?

Yes, thatís the great influence on me. I have a family with my brother, my sister-in-law, my nephews and especially the family of my sister-in-law. The life here is very peaceful and comfortable. Family sentiment makes problems and crises seem easier.

What was the first turning point in your art career in Hanoi?

In 1998, after my contacts with the Embassy of Finland, the cultural attachť, who is very interested in Vietnamese art, began to promote Natasha Salon in some large cities in Finland, including Helsinki.

The work in that salon is very Vietnamese and very contemporary, and is displayed in Europe. It has brought about a surprising trend in the art world. That was where I got my exposure.

After this exhibition, I had a chance to return home, by a government-funded air ticket. Salon Natasha also puts me in contact with foreign galleries. As a result, I have sold more paintings and have gradually withdrawn from the work at my brotherís bar.

Now you can not only live, but also live very comfortably by selling paintings. Do you still feel as if youíre in jail?

Now I live much better than before. I have leased a larger house and have money to return home whenever I want. Iíve recently gone home with the Lotus exhibition.

Do you ever feel as if creating art for sale is boring?

Iíve never repeated myself just to sell paintings. I always work seriously, form the heart. I put my heart into my work so Iím never afraid of boredom. I donít have any assets except for family sentiment and enough to pay my bills. I have no money, no house, and a few friends, and my sister-in-law recently told me that I am like a Hmong woman in Hanoi.

Reprinted from VietNamNet


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thanh le lacquer painting, by doris duncan (August 09, 2006 02:35 AM)
RE: thanh le lacquer painting, by Jack (September 22, 2006 06:43 AM)
RE: thanh le lacquer painting, by Mark Spaeth (November 02, 2006 02:39 AM)

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