A Fresh Brush with Folk Art: Young Painters’ Perspectives

The vibrant soul of Vietnamese folk culture thrives in the hearts of Gen Z, a testament to their deep connection with their cultural heritage. With a unique flair, they breathe new life into age-old traditions, creating a vibrant fusion of the past and present. This dynamic interplay showcases their strong sense of cultural identity and their innate creativity, ensuring that these timeless traditions continue to evolve and captivate.

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The Temple of Literature in Hanoi is currently hosting an intriguing exhibition titled ‘Folk in Gen Z’, which has captivated the attention of locals and foreign tourists alike. This exhibition showcases the creative talents of young artists who have drawn inspiration from traditional folk art, giving it a contemporary twist.

Organized collaboratively by the Center for Cultural and Scientific Activities of Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam and the innovative enterprise TiredCity, the exhibition celebrates the rich heritage of Vietnamese folk culture while recognizing the role of young illustrators in preserving the nation’s cultural identity.

The exhibition is a joint effort between the Center for Cultural and Scientific Activities of Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam and the creative company TiredCity. Source: Hanoi.gov.vn

Vietnamese folk culture continues to thrive and evolve, influenced by the creative interpretations of a new generation of artists. This exhibition beautifully blends traditional folk art with modern narratives, creating a unique and captivating dialogue between the past and the present.

Nearly 40 illustration pieces are on display, exploring a diverse range of themes, including painting, performing arts, and literature. These young artists have skillfully employed modern artistic techniques to pay homage to the beauty of Vietnamese folk culture, such as Dong Ho paintings, hat boi, and childhood songs that evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Le Xuan Kieu, Director of the Center for Cultural and Scientific Activities of Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam, emphasized the significance of the exhibition in showcasing the enduring vitality of national culture. “The exhibition represents the continuous evolution of our national culture, enhancing the value of our heritage across generations,” Kieu stated. “We aim to establish the Temple of Literature not just as a historical site but as a vibrant cultural hub that fosters creativity and engages young people in artistic endeavors.”

The exhibition seamlessly blends traditional art with modern creations by young artists. Source: Hanoi.gov.vn

Bui Ngoc Xuan, the exhibition curator, revealed that the young painters drew inspiration from their childhood memories, filled with folk songs and stories. “Our goal is to make folk culture more accessible and relatable to modern audiences through these fresh and innovative interpretations,” Xuan explained.

One of the featured artists, Pao, hailing from Thua Thien Hue province, has had a diverse cultural upbringing. Pao’s illustrations, characterized by soft brushstrokes, explore themes ranging from nursery rhymes to folk toys and mother goddess worship, offering viewers a glimpse into a unique and contemporary cultural landscape. Pao is also actively translating his work into English to reach a global audience.

A captivating illustration by Pao, showcasing his unique artistic style.

Meaptopia, a Hanoi-born artist now based in Boston, finds inspiration in the everyday life around them. From the familiar comfort of pho and banh mi to the mundane moments of people stuck in traffic, Meaptopia’s work is a humorous and affectionate tribute to Vietnamese culture, presented in a traditional artistic style.

Don’t miss this captivating exhibition at the Temple of Literature, Hanoi, which will be on display until July 31st. It promises to be a thought-provoking and inspiring experience, celebrating the fusion of traditional folk art with the vibrant creativity of Gen Z.

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