Young Calligraphers Bring Their Work to the Streets

With their passion for calligraphy, young calligraphers in Ao dai and head dresses like their predecessors bring their work to the streets of Ho Chi Minh City in an activity that contributes to the preservation of calligraphy giving, a traditional Vietnamese custom to welcome Tet (the lunar New Year).

Net Viet Calligraphy Club now has more than 30 members. To welcome the New Year of Dinh Dau 2017, the club has launched a calligraphy exhibition themed “Net Viet – Vietnamese writing – Vietnamese spirit” with 80 works of calligraphy displayed, showing the Vietnamese passion and interest for the arts of writing.

Traditionally, during Tet holiday, Vietnamese people would have esteemed scholars write words to be displayed in their house. Calligraphy giving is a time-honoured custom in the country. Now Vietnamese calligraphy is displayed in Chinese Han characters, Nom scripts and Latin-based Quoc Ngu characters.

Young calligrapher Nguyen Hieu Tin, who was born in 1980 and is now the Chief of Vietnamese Studies Subject at Ton Duc Thang University, is the founder of Net Viet Calligraphy Club in Ho Chi Minh City established ten years ago. He started the activity of “Ong do xuong pho” (Calligraphy giving on the street) in 2006.

He treasures the values of Vietnamese calligraphy as an essential part of its culture. Hieu Tin believed the Vietnamese to be the first people to use ink brushes to write Latin characters. As a combination of different cultures and penmanship, Vietnamese calligraphy shows its characteristics through a cursive style, which is distinct from strict principles of Western-styled writing and Chinese scripts with logographs.

A calligraphy exhibition to commemorate 10 years establishment of Net Viet Calligraphy Club at Ho Chi Minh City Youth Culture House.Themed “Net Viet – Vietnamese writing – Vietnamese spirit”, the exhibition showed the Vietnamese passion
and interest for the arts of writing
Photo: Nguyen Lan/VNP

The calligraphy exhibition attracts many calligraphy enthusiasts.Photo: Nguyen Lan/VNP

A brilliant corner of the exhibition.Photo: Nguyen Lan/VNP

As many as 80 works of calligraphy displayed at the exhibition, showing the Vietnamese passion and interest for
the arts of writing.
Photo: Nguyen Lan/VNP

A member of Net Viet Calligraphy Club brings his work to the street.Photo: Nguyen Lan/VNP

Scholar Hoa Nghiem writes calligraphy letters on spring days. Photo: File

Among young calligraphers in Ho Chi Minh City, Hoa Nghiem, born in 1984, is a famous figure. He is now the president of Net Viet Club. Hoa Nghiem learned about calligraphy when he was raised in a pagoda as an orphan. Without a family, he was taught calligraphy by senior Buddhist monks, who also taught him about filial piety. Therefore, his inscriptions often express his ideas about motherhood.

Bui Hien, who was born in 1957, is respected by Nguyen Hieu Tin, Hoa Nghiem and other young calligraphers thanks to his talent and devotion to calligraphy. When he started writing Vietnamese scripts, Bui Hien put a lot of care and efforts in each stroke, sometimes even skipping sleep.

Gradually, he has mastered the writing technique and can now express his own spirit, viewpoint, and experience through calligraphic works. He also thinks that calligraphy is a method for him to prove his pride of the language that has undergone ups and downs through different past generations since its establishment.

With their passion for the humane values of calligraphy, calligraphers like Bui Hien, Hoa Nghiem and Hieu Tin are helping preserve the special culture of asking for and giving calligraphy through their activities on busy streets during Tet holiday./.

Remarkable works of Net Viet Calligraphy Club

Story: Nguyen Vu Thanh Đat – Photos: Nguyen Luan