Veteran artist Tran Huu Chat has teamed up with his talented offspring for an exhibition of their oil paintings and his wood-cuttings at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.
Aptly titled Father and Kids, the exhibition features 15 wood engravings by Chat and 35 oil and canvas paintings by his four children.
Chat's large wood engravings depict in colour disparate historical and cultural events in Vietnam, ranging from Chain traditions (Under the Chain Towers), wartime military manoeuvres (Army Operation) to Hanoi's preparations for the 22nd SEA Games (SEA Games).
"It took me about two years to finish each piece," Chat said.
Wood cutting Me La a features a Chain ceremony celebrating a bumper crop was inspired by Chat's stint in the Central Highlands.
In this piece, Chat used eggshells and bronze dust to highlight the rice god, this intricate technique helping to imbue the piece with a supernatural aura, reflecting the importance of these traditions to the Chain of central Vietnam.
"I spent two years staying in Chain towers to research these ethnic people," he said.
"The art of wood engraving requires patience and is painstaking, which is why the art is less popular nowadays. Young artists prefer something quicker," he said.
Born in 1933, Chat was among the first graduates of the Vietnam Fine Arts School with colleagues including artists Nguyen Thu, Van Da and Quang Tho.
Their inaugural fine arts course was named after the well-known Vietnamese artist To Ngoc Van.
This is Chat's first exhibition with his two sons and two daughters.
"We all are painting everyday but this is our first group exhibition. I think it is a good opportunity to look at the artistic differences between generations," Chat said.
As Chat strives to maintain his engraving techniques, his children - artists Tran Tuyet Trinh, Tran Huu Hong, Tran Huu Hien and Tran Tuyet Hanh - opt for more modernist approaches to their art. Vibrant colours and painting styles dominate their oils on canvas featuring a mix of portraits and landscapes.
"I am not fond of displaying at exhibitions, but this time around I want to emphasise this traditional art, and its preservation,"said Chat.
Chat has eight wood engravings already part of the permanent display at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.
The exhibition at 38 Cao Ba Quat St, Ha Noi runs until this Saturday, January 15. (VNS)
Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper