Vietnamese artist Pham Luan introduces viewers to his works depicting Singapore. (Photo courtesy of Singaporean Embassy)
The exhibition entitled “Perspectives”, which opened last week, features the countries’ landscapes through the unique views and experiences of the artists.
Luan has a special affinity for Singapore and has extensively used Singapore’s landmarks and landscapes as inspiration for his paintings.
“Singapore impressed me from my very first trip to the country in early 1990s. I’m particularly fascinated with a vibrant Singapore when the lights are lit up,” said Luan.
Luan’s success in depicting the quality of light, both natural and artificial, gives an alluring appeal to each of his works, showing the iconic structures of Marina Bay Sands to the famous Merlion Park, from the lively Clarke Quay to soothing and peaceful Botanic Gardens.
“I have to return to a particular landscape through different times of the day to really feel every single detail. Whenever I capture an image in my mind, a potential painting is already created. A single sketch of light also needs great attention to make the painting come alive,” the Vietnamese artist said.
Wandly’s fondness for historical Vietnamese landmarks is evident in his works. As a regular visitor to the country, the Singaporean artist is particularly attracted to the unique architecture and street scenes of Hanoi and Hoi An cities. Busy streets in the capital city’s Old Quarter including Hang Ma, Hang Luoc and Hang Dau are easily recognisable in his work.
“What I tried to capture is the essence of Hanoi, the culture, the people, the faces, the things seen every day, especially the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival which is very unique,” said the Singaporean artist.
“Hanoi has a strong history, strong culture and a lot of historical places, for example Dong Kinh Square, Hoan Kiem Lake and the Opera House,” he added.
His works reflect his sensitivities to the connections between people and their built environment. For example, paintings depicting the streets of Old Quarter provide a vivid view of the busy streets with motorbikes and street food shops, characterised by plastic chairs which can’t be seen elsewhere.
“These are places that I usually walk by, pass by and experience myself. I want to share how I feel, what I see and my impression of Hanoi.
“I worked on the floor, I poured the ink, bringing in the characters. When it got dry, I put in layers of acrylics so layer after layer making it very natural and organic,” he said, pointing to a painting featuring Hang Luoc Street.
“The exhibition showcases the close and vibrant cultural exchanges and people-to-people ties between Singapore and Vietnam, and it is a prime example of how art can bring the people of two countries closer together,” Singaporean Ambassador to Vietnam Catherine Wong said.
“In a unique arrangement, the two artists have painted landmarks and landscape scenes not of their own country, but of each other’s country. Their paintings reflect their feelings, thoughts, and sense of attachment to each other’s country.”
The paintings are on display at the Cultural Exchange Centre, 50 Dao Duy Tu Street, Hanoi, until May 27.