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ART SCENES | EXHIBITIONS | VN CULTURE | ART ASSOCIATIONS | ETHNIC MINORITIES

The Formation of the Ho Chi Minh City – Fine Arts University


Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts University, one of the oldest established arts institutes in Vietnam, was founded by the French in 1913 and first called L'Ecole de Dessin (the Drawing School). Prior to its establishment, the Woodwork Arts School in Thu Dau Mot and the Bien Hoa Pottery Arts School in Dong Nai had been set up in 1901 and I903 respectively. L'Helgovach and Garnier, under the instruction of engineering architect Andre Joyeux, are two of the highly regarded pioneers credited with the establishment of the school.

The first academic year started on October 14, 1913 enrolling 15 students. They were taught basics in painting art, graphics, decoration, layout, colors and composition. After one year of study, the students took an examination. One third of them passed the examination and were entitled to study either Decoration Art or Stone Printing/Bronze Carving in the following three years.

By 1917, the school was re-named the Gia Dinh Decoration Arts School, the only school in the South considered a vocational art secondary high school. The school was admitted as a member of "L'Union Centrale des Arts decoratifs de Paris".

Since 1937, the teaching staff headed by Artist Claude Lemaine had been reorganized with more subjects, including nude, general decoration, basic architecture and perspective. Sophomores started with fieldwork in the lacquer, silk and oil studios.

By 1940 the school was called "Ecole des Arts appliqués de Gia Dinh” (the Gia Dinh Applied Art School) and included majors-art painting, architecture painting and art printing integrating folk art, Oriental art and Occidental art.

In 1950 when the school was dubbed the Gia Dinh Decoration Arts High School, and subjects expanded to house decoration, advertising, carving and printing. Shortly afterwards, the school was re-named the Gia Dinh National Decoration Arts School in a bid to develop handicraft and art in a modernization drive.

On December 31, 1954, the Saigon Fine Arts Higher School was set up to teach majors in drawing and sculpturing The new establishment was adjacent to the Gia Dinh National Decoration Arts School The training course consisted of two levels spanning seven year terms.

The two schools were eventually merged into the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts High School, which offered training for intermediate and upper-intermediate levels. Between 1975 and 1981, various approaches were applied by the then Rector, Nguyen Phaoc Sanh, to train art teachers for other relating schools in southern provinces. During this time, the school had major faculties such as sculpture, art drawing, graphics, art theory-history- criticism and material technique floor. The school also trained cinema- designing artists. Classes were either for regular students at six-year terms, or five-year terms for in-house service students or intermediate learners.

The name "HCMC Fine Arts University" was officially given in 1981. Since then the training mode has been changed with a five-year terms for art education and a three-year term for intermediate level.

A reform of the university started in 1987, with new training processes, new organization and modern management approaches in a bid to encourage student incentive and creativity. The school term was divided into two stages (the first stage for general majors, the second for specialized creation and materials) consisting of many semesters.

The faculty of large-scale paintings was opened in the 1990-91 school year, with the Applied Art Faculty opening in 1992. Under the direction of the Ministries of Information & Culture and Education & Training, HCMC Fine Arts University has been offering post-graduate courses since 1993. The computer room and the exhibition room were opened in 1995. The applied art workshop opened in 1997.

The school dormitory can accommodate around 100 students. The Library, with 3000 books on arts, serves students and interested citizens.

HCMC Fine Arts University has been a "cozy nest" for thousands of artists over time. Among these are a People's Artist and many Honourable professors and teachers. Their paintings have captured the hearts of Vietnam and are sought after by local and foreign art connoisseurs.

In 1991, the university was awarded with Vietnam’s Third Labour Order and is a two- time Challenge Banner holder, deserving as one of the two main arts centres in Vietnam.

HCMC Fine Arts University enjoys extensive contacts and exchanges with foreign counterparts from France, the USA, Russia, Australia, Singapore and China.

Today, more than 90 years since its founding, Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts University continues to improve training courses in the orientation of market economy, under the light of Socialism. The university’s target is 50 per cent of teachers holding a Masters of Arts degree.

The Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts University is located at 5 Phan Dang Luu Street, Precinct 3, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Courtesy:The Ho Chi Minh City Fine Art Association Guide Book.

     

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