The solo painting exhibition titled “Sparkling of scallop paper” is the debut one by young talent painter Mifa that is on display at Mo Art Space in Hanoi until April 4.

“Sparkling of scallop paper” exhibition in Hanoi. Photo: Mo Art Space 

Mifa or Le Vu Anh Nhi, is a Danang-based visual artist and researcher who specializes in painting with acrylics on traditional giay diep or scallop paper. 

According to curator Asheem Singh, the playfulness and peace of childhood and the terrors of modernity find a unique intersection in Mifa’s work, which applies ultra-modern paint and transfers techniques to beautiful and simple folk paper.

“The roots of diep-paper stretch deep into her ancestor’s folklore and are reinvented anew in the imagination of the millennial female artist, living at a moment of unique trauma and disjuncture in our shared history,” he stated.

The exhibition features over 120 acrylic works on placards created by Mifa since 2018. Her works are crafted based on two main inspirations: the beauty of nature that is depicted in bright colors paintings; and the loneliness of people in the days of social distancing because of Covid-19 shown in dark and cool colors.

The art installation titled “Five Centuries Underwater” by Mifa. Photo: Mo Art Space

Talking about the reason for pursuing painting on scallop paper, Mifa said that being born and raised in the beach city of Danang, she has been interested in the sparkling beauty of the seashells since she was a child. Mifa then, on her way to find the painting inspiration, fell in love with the shimmering scallop paper since the first time she encountered it in Ho Chi Minh City some years ago.

“I named my debut exhibition ‘Diep’ (scallop) as a brief expression of my love for this particular kind of paper,” she said.

The giay diep or scallop paper itself is considered as an ‘art of the craft’ material, according to local experts. The paper is obtained from bark of Do tree, which normally is grown in the northern province of Tuyen Quang. The wood is soaked in water for months, then minced and mixed with powders of seashells, glutinous rice, plain rice or tapioca to make sheets of paper.

Due to the elements of seashell and glutinous rice, scallop paper possesses an exotic sparkling hard background and is able to retain colors for a long time.

Below are some typical artworks on scallop paper at the ‘Diep’ exhibition by Mifa.