|French photographer Réhahn (R) receives the Trophées des Francais de l’étranger, awarded to French expatriates with successful projects or outstanding achievements abroad, in Quai d’Orsay, Paris (Photo courtesy of Réhahn)
Organised annually by the prestigious French daily news website lepetitjournal.com since 2013, Trophées des Francais de l’étranger is awarded to French expatriates with successful projects or outstanding achievements abroad. The jury includes leaders of major political, economic and media organisations in France.
Réhahn’s Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum project, at 26 Phan Boi Chau in Hoi An city, was selected as the winner among nine nominees for Trophées des Francais de l’étranger this year.
The 250sq.m museum is home to more than 30 authentic traditional costumes and 200 photos, precious artifacts and stories translated into French, English and Vietnamese. It is the culmination of five years of exploration of Vietnam’s 54 nationalities.
Réhahn, who was born in Normandy, France, has made Hoi An his home since 2011.
“I’m very honoured to win the award for my project after a seven-year course seeking photos of ethnic groups and their fashion collections for exhibition in Hoi An,” Réhahn said in a statement.
“The French always love and pay attention to cultural preservation, so I was fascinated by the colourful cultural value of 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam, even when the precious culture has fallen into oblivion,” he said.
Réhahn has met almost all 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam in his time living and working in Hoi An town, an UNESCO-recognised world heritage site.
He said he opened the non-profit museum to showcase the traditional costumes of ethnic minority groups along with images and documentary stories of different Vietnamese cultures, particularly those of the smallest ethnic groups left in the country.
The French photographer and a group of artists and entrepreneurs plan to turn Phan Boi Chau Street in Hoi An’s old French Quarter into Rue des Arts – with highlights including such stops as the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum, March Gallery, Hoi An Photo Tour and Gallery, Phap Gallery, Village Craft Planet and Ly Ly Gallery, as well as the elegant Brother’s Café and Mia Coffee, the oldest Western-style coffee shops in the town.
He has also been building a Co Tu Museum in Tay Giang district of Quang Nam province.