Those portrayed in the paintings include people from Laos, Cuba, the UK, Japan, China, Chile and Australia, who came from all walks of life, such as State leaders, astronauts, soldiers, politicians, writers and journalists.
“The paintings express Viet Nam’s deep gratitude to our international friends for their feelings, sacrifices and contributions to Viet Nam during the fierce wars, as well as during the development process,” said Vu Xuan Hong, chairman of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Associations.
The paintings will have more faces of friends added over time, he said.
Among the works displayed are a painting of Len Aldis, a British activist who joined mass demonstrations to protest the US invasion in the south of Viet Nam. In 1992, he established the UK-Viet Nam Friendship Association in the UK and conducted charitable activities in Viet Nam.
There is also a painting of Raymond Aubrac (1914-2012), a French engineer who hosted President Ho Chi Minh in 1946 when the President visited Paris and helped Ho Chi Minh in his diplomatic activities. In later years, Aubrac travelled to the US many times to meet US Secretary of State H. Kissinger, General Secretary of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim and Pope Jean Paul VI to seek a solution to the war in Viet Nam.
After the war, he persuaded US authorities to hand over maps showing where bombs and mines had been buried so Vietnamese authorities could defuse or remove these explosives.
The exhibition is on display at the headquarters of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organisations, 105A Quan Thanh Street.
Heritage exhibition in Quang Binh
An exhibition on Vietnamese heritage sites opened in the central province of Quang Binh on December 24.
On show are fastinating works selected from the Vietnam Heritage Photo Awards 2013 event launched by the Vietnam Heritage Magazine and the Vietnam Cultural Heritage’s Association last June.
The exhibition – the last of 16 similar events aimed at raising public awareness of the community’s active involvement in preserving and upholding natural and cultural heritages in the country – will close on January 2, 2014.
Festival promotes “Don ca tai tu” value
The Mekong delta province of Tra Vinh launched a “don ca tai tu” (amateur singing) festival for local people on December 23-24 to honour the art, which was recognised as a piece of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.
As many as 70 amateur singers and instrumentalists from rural areas across the province took 54 pieces of Don ca tai tu’s music and songs onto the stage.
Tra Vinh’s people have fondly performed Don ca tai tu since the late 19th century and are working together to preserve the art with 57 clubs scattering across the locality with members numbering 1,000.
Following this festival, the provincial department of culture, sports and tourism plans to organise the event annually to spread the value of the art far and wide.
Known as a musical art that has both scholarly and folk roots, Don ca tai tu (amateur singing) developed in southern Vietnam in the late 19th century. The impromptu art honours the creativeness and artistry of the performers.
UNESCO recognised the art as an intangible cultural heritage on December 5, during the on-going 8th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The art is performed at numerous events, such as festivals, ‘death anniversary’ rituals, and celebratory social events. The audience can join in, by practicing, making comments or creating new words for songs.
It has been transmitted from generation to generation through official and unofficial forms of education in all 21 provinces, where the art form is popular. Don ca tai tu has continually been popularised through cultural exchanges among peoples, presenting their mutual harmony and respect.
The art form is played on a variety of different instruments, including the kim (moon-shaped lute), co (two-stringed fiddle), tranh (16-string zither), ty ba (pear-shaped lute), song lang (percussion), bau (monochord) and sao (bamboo flute), and the violin and guitar, which were adapted.
The musicians who contribute to Don ca tai tu include master instrumentalists, master lyricists, master singers, instrumentalists, and singers.
Influenced by other forms of cultural heritage from the central and southern regions of Vietnam, such as nhac le (ceremonial music) and hat boi (classical theatre and folk song), the music genre was added to the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012.
Vietnam joins Southeast Asian contemporary art festival
Vietnam will be represented at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre’s contemporary visual arts festival scheduled to take place in March 2014.
The festival is part of the celebrations leading up to officially establishing the ASEAN Community in 2015.
Vietnamese artists Bui Cong Khanh, Nguyen Van Cuong, Phan Thao Nguyen, Tung Mai, and Vu Dan Tan will exhibit their work alongside more than 40 other outstanding artists from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, and the Philippines.
The art festival—themed “Concept Context Contestation: Art and the Collective in Southeast Asia”—is the Southeast Asian region’s largest.
Photos of central highland’s Lang Biang Peak displayed
As many as 120 photos, in a collection entitled “Lang Biang” by central highland noted photographer MPK Nguyen Van Phuoc, are on display in the city of Da Lat.
The photos feature Lang Biang Peak, as seen from the photographer’s house at different times of the day and throughout different seasons.
The collection is MPK’s gift to the city on its 120th anniversary.
Another photo exhibition by MPK, entitled Lang Biang Seen from Different Places and Different Places Seen from Lang Biang Peak, is on display at Cu Lan Tourism Village in Lac Duong District of Lam Dong Province.
The collection brings together 30 photos of Lang Biang that the photographer captured during his 30-year career.
The two exhibitions run until January 3.
Lang Biang Plateau was discovered by French biologist Alexandre Yersin in 1893.
Celebrity chef Martin Yan meets fans
Celebrity chef/TV host Martin Yan, the newly-appointed ambassador of the five-star Windsor Plaza Hotel Saigon in District 5, conducted several cooking demonstrations and exchanges with diners to mark the festive season.
At the events, chef Yan shared knowledge on the art of gastronomy and took some pictures and played with some children. He is consulting and supporting professional training for the hotel’s culinary team at restaurants and affiliates.
He also has plans to create a new range of food inspired from Western gastronomy with Chinese herbs and ingredients for 2014.
Established in 2004, the Windsor Plaza Hotel Saigon recently had 50% of its facilities and accommodations renovated for a completely new look to mark its ninth anniversary in an event which was held last month.
Work starts on Cam Mountain cable car in An Giang
Construction of a cable car line connecting the Lam Vien resort area to the top of the Cam Mountain kicked off yesterday in southern An Giang province.
The route, measuring nearly 3.5 kilometres, is designed to transport up to 2,000 passengers per hour on 89 cabins.
The project, which costs VND292 billion (US$13.7 million) is scheduled for completion in December next year.
The Cam Mountain, which is the highest mountain in the south-western region with a height of 710 metres, boasts stunning natural landscapes and famous historical sites.
It hosts a Maitreya Buddha statue recognised by the Asian Book of Records as the largest Maitreya Buddha in Asia.
Currently, tourists can travel to the mountain top along a six kilometre motorway, in addition to existing walking trails.