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Artists journey back through time (April 15, 2003)

The above work is 'China,' 1999 by Hanh Ngo.
A series of exhibits by five female Australian artists depicting journeys back in time are currently on display in Hanoi. The works are housed in a display named Time out of Joint that incorporates both traditional and innovative artistic techniques.

The artists believe that the past plays an extremely important role in determining present personalities, thus shaping the future.

The artists -Trinh Vu, Caroline Ho Bich, Tuyen Dang, Helga Groves, Nelia Justo and Hanh Ngo present women passing down traditions and family rituals, and their work echoes their individual memories and reflects the realities of contemporary, multicultural Australia.

Caroline Ho Bich Tuyen Dang was born in Vietnam and spent her childhood here. "Movement is both forward and backward and seems to travel in the circles of the familiar and the new," she says opaquely.

Her Untravelled Roads is comprised of a fly-screen mesh with natural cotton string woven into it to suggest a map that gives Vietnam a land border with New South Wales and Victoria in Australia.

"It is a new series of works which continues to be inspired by the cultural duality that I, and other children of migrants, live with," she says.

Trinh Vu prefers to explore the more technological side of art, which she juxtaposes with age-old techniques. She sees her work as a mediation between the past, present and future.

Helga Groves came to Hanoi in 1995 on an exchange programme. While in Vietnam she was paradoxically reintroduced to her own Finnish roots, when a Vietnamese friend showed her the Finnish epic The Kelevala for the first time. Groves produces work in response to particular places that stoke up personal memories.

Meanwhile Nelia Justo, a French national of Portuguese decent, now based in Australia, makes sculptures that combine traditional oriental iconography with technology.

She is currently investigating European links with Vietnam, and the way the two regions have affected one another.

Hanh Ngo's work consists of woven tapestries; she describes her work as "a slow meditative process" that she compares to calligraphy.

Ngo left Vietnam for Australia aged seven, and she says she now feels constantly challenged by the two cultures that have dominated her life.

The exhibition is housed at the Hanoi University of Fine Arts Gallery, 42 Yet Kieu Street, where it will run until April 17. (VNS)

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper


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