Exhibition links young Belgian and Vietnamese people

Young European and Vietnamese have the chance to spark conversations about values in a pandemic-hit world through a project supported by the Belgian embassy.

Under the project, a photography exhibition entitled Things That Count is being held displaying works that are a part of online collaboration between students from the Photography Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium, with young Vietnamese photographers.

The 10-week project was held from March and May to divide the photographers into pairs to discuss important current issues in modern society.

Ten values include family, safety, gender, heritage, humour, intimacy, freedom, power, knowledge, and faith.

“What struck me most was the immediate openness and trust that the participants had in each other,” said Bert Danckaert, associate professor of Photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, who spearheaded the project.

“The project seemed to generate an injection of hope facing another continent, a virtual bridge between two cultures. Looking back, I think the most important and 11th value is that of trust.”

In times of COVID-19, existential questions are posed to young people who are now facing an uncertain future.

Each week, the participants dealt with an assigned value, which they first discussed in pairs, then provided each other with inspiration, and finally expressed their personal opinion of the value in question in one photograph.

The resulting images and fragments of the written communication between the participants were published online, where perspectives were shared and friendships developed.

At a time when social contact is severely limited, Things That Count sends a hopeful signal by creating an international network among upcoming artists and reflections on what is considered valuable today.

The exhibition is being held in Hanoi by Matca Space for Photography and the Embassy of Belgium in Vietnam from June 25 to July 7.

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