03/03/2018 15:50 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Revival of traditional folk paintings

As a traditional folk painter with pencil and colors for using a graphic technique, painter Nguyen Xuan Lam has cooperated with the TiredCity Company Limited to print folk paintings on T-shirts, post cards, hand bags and other products, helping popularize the Vietnamese folk arts to young customers.
 “Five Tigers” was the first painting by Nguyen Xuan Lam, simply due to his personal fondness for the subject. In this traditional folk painting, Lam maintained the original handmade drawings. However he added in modern techniques, like more details in the clouds and more curved lines in the tigers’ eyes and fur, which made the traditional folk painting in harmony with the contemporary arts.

Artist Nguyen Xuan Lam.

Nguyen Xuan Lam’s favourite topic in folk painting is animals .

Lam's folk painting exhibitiion was held in early 2017.

The exhibition was welcomed by local and foreign visitors.

Lam's folk paintings are printed on cards and notebooks.

Even though born in 1993,  Lam is a nostalgic man. He is interested in learning history and much aware of the beauty of the traditional folk paintings. He started a project, “Re-drawing folk paintings” in April 2016 and completed it in December 2016 with 20 folk paintings done, including “Chicken and Roses”, “Mice Wedding”, “Pigs”, “Phu Dong Thien Vuong”, “Lady Trieu Rides an Elephant”. Some works were painted with inspiration coming from the worshipping paintings of Nghe An central province, or military mandarins of Vinh Phuc northern province.

Lam’s painting style tends to details and realism. When painting some characters, he often uses the polishing technique to create blocs for the subject, making it more impressive in depth. He does not use the traditional wood carving print, instead he uses a pencil to draw to ensure the simplicity of the work. After scanning the draft on a computer and using the graphic technique, he colours the painting in such a natural way, yet it still bears a modern feature.

A young painter, Lam wants to pass on his inspiration from the traditional culture to others in modern society. In February 2017, he organized a private  exhibition with 20 paintings on display. Three paintings, “Five Tigers”, “Giong Saint”, and “Cranes”, were selected by the TiredCity Company Ltd. as samples to print on T-shirts, post cards, hand bags and notebooks. This initial cooperation has created a new and modern face of traditional folk paintings in a closer approach to young people.

About 50 T-shirts printed with Lam’s folk paintings were made and introduced to customers, and were all warmly received, said Nguyen Viet Nam, Fine Arts Director of the TiredCity Company Ldt.

“It will help in waking up the love for, and inspiration for folk paintings among young people,” said the director.


Five Tigers

Giong Saint 

Lady Trieu 

A Hang Trong folk painting by Xuan Lam.

Another Dong Ho folk painting by Xuan Lam.

Cock and rose.


Peaceful world. 

Folk paintings are printed on different materials.
Story: Ngan Ha - Photos: Khanh Long