The exhibition, organized at the Hanoi-based Residence of Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam Ms Grete Løchen, aims to mark the 50th anniversary of Norway-Vietnam diplomatic ties (1971-2021).
The event, which was held via both online and direct platform, drew the participation of over 50 people from different generations including local artists, arts researchers, scholars, critics, students and art lovers in Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City.
In her welcoming remarks, Ambassador Grete Løchen highlighted the special meaning of the cultural exchange event as it happened on 25 November – the date that Norway and Vietnam officially established diplomatic relations 50 years ago in 1971.
“It is even more special in a way it is organized in my Residence – a French-style villa, an iconic element of the Hanoi Capital City. To us, this is the symbol of Norway-Vietnam friendship because this is a combination of Vietnamese and Norwegian histories, cultures and traditions through the originality of the villa and the furniture and decoration of the Norwegian Scandinavian styles. This is a really special way to celebrate this important milestone on the relations of the two countries”, said Ambassador Grete Løchen.
The event also offered a great opportunity for the Vietnamese audience to meet Norwegian artists virtually and discuss the topics of the mutual interest, including varieties of conceptual arts work, technical and professional aspects, inspiration for creativity, and broader cross-cutting themes such as women’s representation in arts, challenges particularly during the pandemic time etc.
The professional context might be different between Norway and Vietnam, but the artists all shared a strong love and passion to arts and to what they are doing and pursuing.
In particular, the event was attended by two couples of Vietnamese and Norwegian mother-daughter artists Ms Marit Tingleff and Ms Tyra Tingleff, Ms Le Kim My and Ms Vu Kim Thu.
Participants discussed the advantages and challenges to female artists in Norway and Vietnam, how family tradition helps in nurturing their love to arts, how to balance the social and family roles as well as to keep their passion to arts.
A life and work of a young Norwegian female artist, career choices and family tradition influence were presented to the audience through the story of Tyra Tingleff (taking part in the event from Berlin).
From Oslo, Ms Marit Tingleff and Mr. Torbjorn Kvasbo, Norwegian masters of ceramics and clays shared with the audience their studios, how they work on a pottery, ceramic sculpture works.
Their clips and stories exposed to the Vietnamese audience a different way of making ceramic works, sculptures and decorative objects. It was interesting to know, Asian including Vietnamese ceramic and pottery had a certain impact on their creative works.
In his presentation, artist Torbjorn Kvasbo, who is the current President of The International Academy of Ceramics (IAC) called for interest and membership from Vietnam ceramic and pottery artists and processionals.
“Vietnamese pottery and ceramics has a long and diverse history spanning back to thousands of years ago, including long before Chinese domination. There are still traditional ceramic villages as Bat Trang, Tho Ha, and Phu Lang, but it is difficult to get a picture of contemporary ceramic art in Vietnam. IAC has yet no members from Vietnam”, he said.
"We are actively working on recruiting members from underrepresented regions of the world. We want to connect, to know more about conditions for colleagues, education of ceramicists, exhibitions and events, all over the world. IAC is very interested in information about the contemporary ceramic field in Vietnam. If any Vietnamese colleague listen to this, convey information to me, I will be grateful for this”, he noted.
Norwegian Ambassador’s guest of honour, artist Nguyen Thanh Chuong, was very happy to be part of this special exchange event.
“I am very happy to have a lacquer painting in this arts collection of Ambassador Grete Løchen. I painted it in 1996, which was also the year Norway started to use the Residence. What a coincidence. Be you a Norwegian or a Vietnamese, it does not matter, because art is a naturally bridge across cultures. Arts will definitely help us understand each other’s cultures more”, Chuong stressed.
“It was such an interesting event with very open exchanges. The stories shared by guest artists were honest and true about their professional concerns and queries. A cold winter evening in Hanoi got heated by the questions and discussion from the artists. Norwegian Ambassador Grete Løchen offered a unique opportunity for us to know more about Norway as a country and a culture”, said fine artist Vuong Trong Duc, Lecturer of Department of Printmaking & Design.