Vietnam Art Books -- Artistís work leaves a lasting impression
By Hao Long

Artistís work leaves a lasting impression
By Hao Long

Mouse Wedding
I was accidentally lost in a small quiet alley when I met him: an old amateur tin-smith in his "museum" full of bas-reliefs.

At age 81, Nguyen Tien Thuat has discovered a deep appreciation for fashioning bas-reliefs on aluminium sheets.

The humble house in Hoi Vu alley in Hanoi is decorated with hundreds of the aluminum art works in many different sizes. Most of them are plain, and have no colour except the silver indentations which create light and dark shadows when they are hit by the light. The small house seems to be larger for the many works hung on all four walls.

Thuat wishes to keep his health so he can create more art works.
Thuat has breathed new life into well-known local and overseas art works, folk episodes and Vietnamese Dong Ho paintings. His works consist of simple lines without any colour or other illustrative details, but people not only easily recognise the works of well-known local and foreign artists, they admire them.

It is not difficult to recognise domestic pieces such as 'The Rich and The Poor,' 'Sister Thuy,' 'Lady with Lotus,' 'Mice Wedding,' or 'Tam and Cam,' and even foreign stories like 'Adam and Eve,' 'The Birth of Jesus Christ,' 'Nude Maija or God of War.'

Jealousy Fight
In the most solemn place in the house, Thuat has hung his works about Confucius, King Quang Trung, President Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap.

"I revere them greatly. They are not only heroes but saints," said Mr Thuat.

When he was younger Thuat was a tin-smith in a printing house. Then, after his retirement at age 65 he discovered his hobby while working part-time at the Hanoi Fine Arts University. Day after day, his love of the creative work grew and he has decided to devote his remaining years to it.

After more than ten years of hard work, he has created several hundred pieces.

"I love them, although they are not that beautiful. It makes me happy to make them and helps me discover the beauty of art," he said.

"Theyíre not for sale or exhibition, but I will give them to my friends if they are fond of one."

Thuatís exploration of subjects is lively and diverse. He illustrates classic episodes as well as scenes he sees around him every day, and these colourful modern scenarios seem to bring his dark house alive.

Whenever we find something special, we should try to express it in our own way. Like the tin-man. He is not an artist. He has never had his own exhibition, nor sold his work. Very few people know him. However, he lives his remaining days quietly but patiently, with his own happiness.

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper.


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