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Artist soldiers on at sixty-year mark (Dec 20, 2002)

HA NOI — Art collectors in the capital city have pooled their resources to celebrate the 60th birthday of one of the most beloved Vietnamese painters, Pham Luc. An exhibition of his works is currently underway through December 28.

Much of the painter’s inspiration comes from his thirty-five years serving in the Viet Nam People’s Army. His luggage containing paintbrushes and gouache followed him through the many years of war, from North to South, from Laos to Cambodia.

"The paintbrush is my means to express my passion," said Luc. "Living with memories and creating paintings is what brings me happiness in life."

The exhibition, now on display in the capital city, features more than 40 lacquer paintings selected by 19 collectors who have supported Luc throughout his career.

His art works depict landscapes, daily life of Vietnamese people and still life images.

"I love Luc’s paintings from my feeling as an art collector rather than my knowledge as an art critic," said Nguyen Sy Dung, who organised the exhibition and is displaying 23 of Luc’s paintings from his personal collection.

"His art works capture a realism blended with Vietnamese tradition, a medley between strong lines, colours and simple description, creating a faint but very charming harmony."

Scanning his paintings, it is easy to recognise his soldier side. His works are not focused on crisp descriptions, and his greys and browns suggest his many years spent travelling Viet Nam’s countryside observing farmers and nuns.

Besides his army painting days, Luc received formal training in painting at the Ha Noi Fine Arts College, graduating in 1977. He has won many awards for his army work from the Ministry of Defence, and has exhibited his work around the world, including Russia, Japan, France, Italy, Poland, Germany and the US.

He was born 60 years ago in the ancient city of Hue.

The artist is now a teacher and director of the Development and Mutual Aid Centre for Economic and National Culture.

When was asked about his future plans, Luc said he will never stop painting.

"There are still many things in this life to paint," he said.

Pham Luc’s lacquer painting exhibition is on display through December 28 at the show room at 93 Dinh Tien Hoang Street. — VNS

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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