04.10.2021, 06:55

Village memories in pictures

A village with the image of a grandfather sitting on a bamboo mat telling stories to his grandchildren, a grandmother knitting brooms in the yard, a mother chopping duckweed… appear in Tran Nguyen’s paintings.

At the end of September, Tran Nguyen posted a series of paintings he created on a forum about rural life, receiving 2,000 likes and 400 shares. Oanh Nguyen’s account commented: “The paintings are so beautiful, each picture is full of country spirit”. Many people say that they can return to their childhood when they look at paintings, but they are sad because the village has now changed and no longer has the old peace.

The artist is happy because many people sympathize. He said: “I think when we grow up, struggling to make a living in the middle of a reinforced concrete city when we see pictures of childhood memories, everyone feels relieved. I want to use paint. To preserve the memory of a Vietnamese village for a while, with the hope that the younger generation will understand more about the life our grandparents and parents have experienced.”

Village memories in pictures
Tran Nguyen said that when he painted the picture “The courtyard in front of the house”, his emotions overflowed because he remembered the image of the bamboo cot, where his grandfather used to sit and tell stories and lull him to sleep.

Tran Nguyen started writing rural themes two years ago. Before the epidemic, he spent a lot of time traveling in ancient villages like Duong Lam and Cu Da to get inspiration. Meeting a beautiful scene, he immediately took pictures or drew pictures for documentation. It usually takes him about two weeks to come up with an idea before drawing a complete picture. His difficulty when pursuing rural paintings is that the model landscape is gradually fading away, no longer in its original state. When going on a field trip, he often has to ask local people, read documents to piece together the details, forming a complete context.

Many of his compositions are inspired by the house the family used to live in Xuan Hong (Xuan Truong, Nam Dinh). When he was young, his parents went to work far away, so Tran Nguyen was taken care of by his grandparents. The artist’s favorite painting is The courtyard in front of the house, depicting a grandfather sitting on a bamboo cot, giving afternoon gifts to his grandchildren. The yard is filled with jars, jars, dry vegetables, and tubers. In Memory of Grandma, he painted her wearing a blouse, wearing a towel, sitting and drying cassava in a sunny courtyard. 

Tran Nguyen spent a lot of time taking care of the details of the loofah, the water tank, the brickyard, the pile of straw, the shade of the sun. Picture Early morning mom describes the image of a mother washing clothes by a moss-covered well, far away from her father preparing to take his son to school. He is sad because the Vietnamese village has changed a lot now, the village and the house he used to live in have also been modernized, no longer having the ancient features.

The work “Mother’s Early Morning” is painted with oil paint.

In order to differentiate many painters pursuing rural paintings, Tran Nguyen includes childhood memories associated with generations of memories such as street vendors, water stalls, roadside tea stalls, etc. His house, a three-room house, a well, a tiled village road, a flower trellis – typical in the Northern countryside – appear with simple drawings. He said he always chooses new perspectives and exploits so that no pictures overlap.

During the days of separation, Tran Nguyen stayed in his house in Hanoi, focusing on composing. He said “crazy legs and arms” after more than two months of not being able to get on a motorbike, wandering around looking for context. In the coming time, he plans to survey reality in the Central and Southern regions, preserving the rural beauty in all three regions of the country. His paintings are currently in favor of depicting landscapes, he wants to depict more deeply the activities and labors of farmers. The artist also found joy in the topic of drawing lotus. Not only satisfying his passion, through forums, but Tran Nguyen can also connect with many collectors and art lovers. To date, he has sold more than 40 village paintings, the price of each work is more than 20 million VND.

The road is paved with red bricks, the houses with tiled roofs in the picture “Country afternoon”.

Tran Nguyen was born in 1990 in a purely agricultural family, with no one following the arts. He has been interested in drawing since childhood, passed the art design exam at, Hanoi University of Theater and Cinema. After graduating from school, he worked as a graphic designer at a Japanese game company, but then resigned because he could not find the joy of work. Currently, he is satisfied with his freehand drawing and plans to open his own exhibition in the near future. Follow vnexpress

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