HA NOI — Asako Okiura stepped back and forth, looking attentively at a small oil painting of lotus flowers hanging at the ongoing exhibition of veteran artist Pham Luc.
“The paintings are very strong and impressive. I see the power of life through the paintings, especially those which feature human beings,” said the homemaker, whose husband suggested she come to the exhibition. “I prefer the large ones but my house is small so this painting will fit.
“The colours are very joyful. I like the lotus, the flower of Viet Nam. And it’s very nice to have something Vietnamese inside my house.”
The 60 paintings on display feature Vietnamese people’s love, landscape and life in different periods of time.
“May is associated with many events. It’s the start of summer as sun shines its brilliant rays. It’s also the ‘hot spot’ where brave soldiers are shining to defend the national sovereignty,” artist Luc explained.
Born in 1943 in the central city of Hue, Luc graduated from Ha Noi Fine Arts University in 1977 and became a member of the Vietnamese Fine Arts Association.
His work takes a realist approach to subjects like the motherland, love, family and war. His paintings have travelled across the border to galleries in the US, France, Japan, Germany and Singapore.
“Family and war are the themes I adore most. With these I can depict the real beauty of life,” Luc said, pointing to a large oil painting of a blind father and his little son carrying a duck to the market. “When you look at such paintings, you don’t see life too hard or sad, as I add some strokes of bright colours in the background. Life is always full of hope and love.”
Using materials from oil to pastel, the artist creates layers of emotion. Flame from Heart depicts the sentimental attachment among soldiers in wartime; Simple Happiness depicts the return of a fisherman to his wife and son after a long day at sea. Dream illustrates two beggars dreaming of a better life, while Where I Was Born could remind viewers of their birthplace with clumps of bamboo, ponds and a communal house.
“Free, broad, solid, inspiring and humane: that’s how I would describe Pham Luc’s strokes. He opposes any restrictions, instead painting the beauty he perceives,” said visitor Nguyen Quang Huy. “Through his paintings, we can read his feelings and soul. He leads viewers to his flows of emotion.”