Although it is still a Vietnamese village landscape with banyan trees, wells, and communal yards, the architecture of the houses here have the blend of Asian and Eastern cultures. This unique characteristic made Cuu village is far different from others.

The architecture of Cuu village’s houses feature more than aesthetic purposes. They also aimed at highlighting the cultural spirit of the village/ Photo: Hong Hanh

Keep the soul of Cuu village

The total of 50 works about “Villa Village”, which were introduced to the public of the capital recently by a group of Hanoi painters- the Group 33A, is an attempt to preserve the beauty of Hanoi. These artworks are created during a relatively long period, as part of an art project called “Awakening the legacy”.

In the paintings, visitors can see familiar images of a typical Vietnamese village in the Northern delta, such as ancient gates, wells or elders wearing traditional headscarves.

In particular, the painter of group 33A also preserved the image of Cuu Village by paying attention to minor details such as a window frame, a kettle covered with coal ash or the door of an ancient house to give viewers feel the quiet and nostalgic atmosphere of the paintings.

Paintings of Cuu Village by painter Manh Tuong (left) and painter Dat Phu (right)/ Photo: Group 33A

According to members of group 33A, although the village is famous, it is not bustling with tourists. Besides, many villagers have migrated to the cities or other localities nationwide. There are only the elderly and children left in the village now.

In addition, the old French villas have also changed over time. Some houses have been repaired or even demolished.

Painter Duong Tuan, a member of group 33A shared his view: “Standing in front of the beauty of that old vestige, I was thinking what if one day all these ancient houses, gates, and mossy walls completely disappear? A perspective that I did not dare to figure out.”

Heritage conservation by painting

The structures in Cuu Village were built with lots of architectural innovations in line with Vietnamese culture and notions of beauty/ Photo: Hong Hanh

From that concern, the project “Awakening the legacy” of group 33A aims to preserve the beauty of Old village through the language of painting. The challenge for the artists is painting the landscape, architecture and people of the village with techniques of the contemporary art without losing the spirit and value of the heritage.

Painter The Long has changed some of the traditional drawings in the set of Phuc Loc Tho (fortune, wealth and longevity) with the drawing of Van (ten thousands) to create different perspective since Van means an eternal journey of Vietnamese culture.

Without any signs of commercialization, Cuu village possesses a special feature, beautiful but blue/ Photo: Hong Hanh

Meanwhile, painter Tuan Dat brought his work on the village gate to the exhibition. Through his painting, from behind the old gate of the village, viewers can enter a different world, which is old and ancient. It is a long story about Cuu village with unique ancient Vietnamese and French architecture, which is also famous for the first Western-style tailoring profession in Hanoi.

“I see, Cuu village is different from other old villages. The tranquility and solitude is the first impression when every visitor comes to the village. This place is in need of each of us to have more action to protect and promote the good values that our forefather left,” said painter Manh Tuong.