The light art installation entitled “Dai the” by visual artist Nguyen Duc Phuong (aka Phuong Gio) and architect Nguyen Ha will be on display at the Centre for Art & Culture in Hanoi from December 24 until the end of February 2022.

The banner of the light installation. Photo: Unleashing Creativity Week 2021

The artists said that their artworks are inspired by the worshiping rituals of Tay and Dao ethnic minorities which they attended during a field trip to the mountainous area in the northwest of Vietnam some years before.

The two artists have brought “Khao can” – the shaman’s plaque used as a key to connect physical existence to the god – into their creative process with their own observation.

“Our understanding of one certain divine, the holy concept is a collection of thoughts suspended the real world, illuminating only the very intention of the shamans who control it,” the artists said.

“Dai the” comprises a series of five installations composed of 180 lamps in the form of everyday objects often found in rural areas such as bamboo baskets, ax blades, earthen cooking tripods, flintstones, among others as well as items used in spiritual activities in the Northwest Mountains such as bamboo cards, seals, stamps and fish-shaped wooden tocsins.

The combination of traditional materials such as Dzo paper, cloth, indigo, coal, and copper together with modern industrial materials like cast aluminum, composite, and steel creates an unexpected visual and functional effect in the works in this exhibition.

“Dai the” is an art piece premiered at the exhibition “Xem dem” at Manzi in July 2020. Photo: Manzi Art Space

Phuong Gio is a renowned Hanoi-based artist. After graduating from the Vietnam University of Fine Art in 2007, he spent ten years exploring and developing an artistic practice based on indigenous and traditional materials/techniques, but not without humorous and gentle ruminations on contemporary life.

After some time living and working in Switzerland, architect Nguyen Ha returned to Vietnam in 2010 and opened an architecture workshop with two fellow Swiss-trained architects, Laurent Cantalou and Kurt Aellen. Creativity can be a lonely experimental path, and the female artist has confessed to being an extremist who wants to follow that path right to the end.

“Dai the” light art installation is part of “Unleashing Creativity Week 2021” cultural event, which is jointly held by the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports and the Architecture Magazine in collaboration with UNESCO in Vietnam and Hoan Kiem District People’s Committee from December 24-31, 2021 in Hanoi.