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Arts must preserve cultural character (February 05, 2007)

VietNamNet Bridge – Van Hoa (Culture) newspaper spoke to Luong Xuan Doan of the Literature and Arts Department under the Party Central Committee's Commission for Culture and Ideology about developing Vietnam's fine arts during international integration.

How do you think Vietnamese fine arts would fare during global integration?

The National Assembly's 6th Congress, which was held 20 years ago, opened the first door for Vietnamese fine arts to enter the foreign markets.

The National Fine Arts Exhibition in 1980 was indicative of this change. Since then, Vietnamese artists have kept up with modern world trends. During 1990-1995,many Vietnamese exhibitions were held in foreign countries.

However, after this period, Vietnamese fine arts fell into decay as the market for copies of original paintings grew spontaneously. The painters, who were the representatives of change, stopped evolving. In the first five years of the 21st century, fine arts did not develop.

Vietnam's accession to the WTO has presented a big opportunity for the country's fine arts to gradually integrate with the rest of the world.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Vietnam's fine arts during global integration?

Our cultural characteristics have become a source of inspiration for artists. The State doesn't mind spending money on assisting arts, but art works must represent the national culture.

It is necessary to exploit fully our own potentials so that both domestic and foreign audiences get the real picture of Vietnamese culture.

Integration does not only mean promoting arts to foreigners, but also absorbing modern trends through exhibition, art exchanges.

During this period, artists have to improve their artistic ability and realise their potential roles in developing fine arts.

Foreign experts have pointed out that Vietnamese fine arts have their own unique characteristics. During international integration, will we continue to maintain this character?

The cultural character expressed through fine arts is very important. However, many painters are not fully sure of blending tradition and modernity.

In order to strike a balance and keep our cultural character, artists need to improve their knowledge of national culture. This is basic for painters to absorb traditional as well as modern values. Currently, Vietnam's fine arts can confidently affirm its own character in the world.

Fine arts acquire meaning when people welcome them. So, besides the efforts of artists, what requires to be done?

Development of Vietnamese fine arts depends mostly on artists. However, it is impossible not to mention the Art Council's role. When artists try their best, it is necessary to have a council for appreciation to promote art works among the public.

The state management should be revised according to changing times and trends.

A section of the public are yet to get used to modern art in Vietnam. Meanwhile, many young painters are pursuing modernity. Is that a cause for worry?

All trends have had equal exposure in Vietnam. However, the appreciation of modern arts will improve only through a period of time. Here, the role of the council in finding real talents is important.

International integration will bring more modern trends, and some of them are not suited with our perception of fine art. In another words, integration does not mean that fine arts have to follow every strange value that militate even against Vietnamese traditional sense of beauty.

The managing agencies should take responsibility in considering new values so that our fine arts do not loose their own character during integration.

Reprinted from VietNamNet


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