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Twin brothers Thanh-Hai from Hue – Hard working Artists
By: Nguyen My Thanh

Thanh (left) and Hai in one of the two galleries they have in Hue City
Hue City VietNam -- Many of the visitors who arrive to tour the New Space Galleries already feel they know the owners, Thanh and Hai. The brothers, identical twins, share a knack for promotion and thousands of copies of their paintings circulate through Hue City. Famous for their lacquer art - and outrageous performances - the brothers, whose galleries are landmark on Nguyen Tri Phuong Street and Pham Ngu Lao Street, are often on hand to greet guests with their unique brand of hospitality.

Thanh applying one of the many coats of lacquer
Le Ngoc Thanh and Le Duc Hai were born in 1975 in the white sandy soil of Quang Binh to a family of modest means. In 1992, they enrolled in a three-year college course at Hue Arts University. After finishing the course, they continued with university training there and graduated in 2000. Their two exhibitions in 1996 and 1997 caused a surprise among Hue artists for they bespoke the boldness in lacquer painting, the contrasts of color and wild and naive outlines. In their paintings, one can find the motifs typical of the decorations found in Hue royal palaces. It seems that the motifs are combined perfectly at random as if they are born from the sub-consciousness of the artists. These two exhibitions encouraged them to take confident steps in their career. When painting, the brothers seem to experience a temporary self-distance, yet their ideas and thoughts converge. This is also the mystery of twins.

Thanh and Hai giving a final hand rub to small lacquer paintings
From 1998 to 2000 Thanh and Hai took part in groups and individual exhibitions in VietNam and abroad. They have exhibits in Thai modern arts Museum in Bangkok and the Faculty of Fine Art Chaing Mai in Thailand, in The United Arab Emirates and Japan. In 2001 Thanh and Hai participated in several lacquer-painting exhibitions in France and Germany. Among the seven entries by Hue artists to the Philip Morris competition, Hanoi-Hue 2001, two entries are by Thanh and Hai. They represent the new style and a new look at life that the brothers seem to absorb through their overseas exhibitions.

Thanh and Hai are interested in experimenting with lacquer materials and developed their own technique. They work 8 and 10 hours a day to produce a large number of paintings to sell to a variety of clients and visitors. Thanh and Hai said, "Painting is working. We paint whatever we like and try not to upset our passionate customers."

Hai is trimming egg shell layer in an early stage of the painting
It is well known to many in the art community that Thanh and Hai are driven to success and have a talent to attract attention. People still talk about their recent performance, a popular Vietnamese art form expression, they recently did in the nude. They live at a dizzying pace with great charm and grace. While Hai is a teacher in Art College in addition to his daily painting, Thanh manages the two galleries and a new bar, also named New Space, nearby.

Water and fine sandpaper is used in one of the final stages
Thanh and Hai produce an impressive amount of paintings. They are now planning to open a large exhibition on May 25th this year, with 50 paintings, at the prestigious Ancient Gallery in HaNoi.

The zest for working and creativity of Le Ngoc Thanh and Le Duc Hai as well as the young generation of Hue artists implicitly bespeaks the new vitality of the ancient capital known as a peaceful land with a leisurely pace of life.

From a recent performance event "TALKING"
From a recent performance event "WAITING"


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