A Filipino living in Ho Chi Minh City recently made local headlines thanks to his drawings featuring 100 different looks at the city.
Titled ‘100 Views of Saigon,’ artist Daniel Ansel Tingcungco's collection boasts 100 scenes from across the southern Vietnamese metropolis, including depictions of architecture and daily routines.
The collection was shared to his Instagram account – @cafedandy – where it has been praised by local netizens.
‘100 Views of Saigon’ also received massive international support, with many commentors explaining that they had never imagined Ho Chi Minh City could be so alive and vibrant.
|A collage of works from ‘100 Views of Saigon’ by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
According to Tingcungco, ‘100 views of Saigon’ is a continuation of his previous series, ‘100 Views of Manila,’ which was inspired by Hiroshige's ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.’
Explaing his technique inspiration to Tuoi Tre News , Tingcungco said he was into learning about Japanese woodblock prints, Ukiyo-e, as well as a later version of the style named Shin-hanga (new prints) that incorporated Western perspectives and lighting.
Shin-hanga was pioneered by Kawase Hasui and Yoshida Hiroshi.
"I am also drawn to the work of Tokyo-based illustrator Tatsuro Kiuchi, whom I consider my hero and mentor,” he added.
“The vibrancy and simplicity of his work capture so much of the mood of his subjects and scenes.”
The 32-year-old remembered that he initially had no plans to begin another project after completing his Manila collection; however, after arriving in Ho Chi Minh City he felt it would be a great way to truly discover the city.
|An artwork promoting ‘100 Views of Saigon’ by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
The Filipino artist said he had no strict criteria on choosing what to draw, but rather stuck to random places he chanced upon on walks, places he read about, or venues recommended by friends.
"The view must have some significance or at least 'feel like' Saigon in my opinion," he said.
"I was fascinated initially by the French colonial architecture and later had greater appreciation for southern Vietnamese mid-century modernist architecture.
“Other places that feel very local also show me a certain character [I appreciate].
"I'd also found endless inspiration from Vietnamese Instagram friends who capture Saigon in surprising ways.”
According to Tingcungco, the hardest part of his Ho Chi Minh City project was choosing which views to include.
"This is not a definitive list, but more of what I felt was memorable for me during my time working on the project," he commented.
Tingcungco said that through the process of drawing 100 views of the city, he and those places have become ‘friends.’
"For me, when illustrating places in Saigon, I feel like I take the details to heart. It becomes more memorable as I spend time observing, noticing small things, and doing my best to capture the mood I felt when I was there," he explained.
"It's like getting to know a good friend beyond small talk and spending a longer time to bond.
"I'd say these places have become my friends, and every time I pass by, there is a feeling of excitement when greeting them, even though we've seen each other several times."
|A ‘3in1’ view of Bitexco Financial Tower, State Bank of Vietnam, and Thu Thiem Tunnel. Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
The harmony of co-existence
Daniel Ansel Tingcungco moved to Vietnam during Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) in 2019.
"All my preconceived notions and misconceptions have been shattered," he shared.
"For most people who've never been to Vietnam, it's always the image of the war that comes to mind or the idea that it's backward or not modern compared to other Asian countries.
"My friends and family wondered why I decided to move here.
"However, living here for a few years has changed my perspective of Saigon and Vietnam in general.
“It's progressive and vibrant.
“It's poised to rise above and succeed with its neighbors, yet it still retains much of its custom and tradition, which I hope will continue to flourish even in the face of modernity."
Tingcungco said one of the things he loves most about Ho Chi Minh City is ‘the harmony of co-existing.’
"I think it's interesting that lots of people are able to maintain their longstanding traditions in Ho Chi Minh City. Of course, a global perspective is good but I hope people don't lose the tradition they have," he added.
For Tingcungco, Ho Chi Minh City is where people can find the rapid development and local identity coexisting in a very special way.
"When you go to a hem (alley), you see a lot of different things and sometimes you wonder why there is 'suddenly' a restaurant or a café down a small alley,” he said.
“That's something you would see in a very morden world but it's hidden in a very local hem.”
Below are works from Daniel Ansel Tingcungco’s ‘100 Views of Saigon’:
|An evening at the Nguyen Hue walking street. Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Evening dessert che me den (black sesame sweet soup). Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Evening walk at Le Van Tam Park. Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Chi Oi's fresh fried bananas (chuoi chien). Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Passing by Tan Hang Street in Cho Lon. Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica. Picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Sunday kite-flying at Thu Thiem. Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Slurping noodles at Hem (alley) 40 Pham Viet Chanh in Binh Thanh. Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Saigon, view from the sky. Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|In front of the ‘Pink Church.’ Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Passing by Turtle Lake. Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Picnic by the Museum of Vietnamese History. Caption and picture by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco|
|Daniel Ansel Tingcungco is seen in a self-portrait painting.|
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