Despite hobbling around on crutches following a recent operation, I was totally blown away by a unique retrospective I attended on Christmas day at the end of 2020.
A career spanning over a decade
The works on display were colourful, daringly different and totally original. The viewer was afforded the opportunity to immerse themselves in the creative practice and inspirations of the prodigious local artist and designer, Thuỷ Nguyễn. To say that Thuy’s work inspires me is quite possibly an understatement. She has a uniquely Vietnamese spin that she incorporates into all of her designs which leaves me in awe. Weaving in traditional Vietnamese motifs and elements into her work, she elevates them further with her contemporary aesthetic. She’s a woman after my own heart.
I spent a little time researching Thuy, this exhibition (a link can be found below) and her life and was surprised (but also not surprised…) to discover:
– she initially graduated in Hanoi with a Fine Arts Degree, then undertook her masters in painting in Kiev, Ukraine. Instead of following a career based on her formal studies, she threw herself into fashion design without any formal training.
– Thuy has created designs that are distinctive and original, putting a contemporary spin on traditional local themes and motifs that she incorporates into her designs. Weaving traditional Vietnamese culture into her art and fashion practice, Thuy draws “…inspiration from vintage textiles, decorative arts, mid-century ceramics, 20th century paintings by (celebrated Vietnamese) artists ….., polaroid photographs from the 1960s and 70s as well as the áo dài, Vietnam’s iconic national dress and other traditional accessories”.
– in 2016, Thuy founded The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in District 2 of Ho Chi Minh City (where, incidentally, this exhibition took place).
– Thuy took on the role of producer of an award-winning film, Cô Ba Sài Gòn (The Tailor), “…a romantic comedy featuring the culture and lifestyle of (sic) Saigonese and the history of áo dài.” It looks divine and I must see it!
For further information and images from An Everyday Dream, check out: https://factoryartscentre.com/en/event/thuy-nguyen-an-everyday-dream/
To watch the trailer to Co Ba Sai Gon: