Artist Tran Thi Truong and her “emotions of color”

During the last days of 2019, the exhibition “Emotions in color” by writer and artist Tran Thi Truong had to close sooner than expected. The intriguing reason for the closing was that the exhibition “sold out”. “Such a phenomenon hadn’t happened since 1995”, said director of the Exhibition House at 16 Ngo Quyen, where the exbition was held.
From an artistic perspective, the theme in the exhibition was nothing groundbreaking. It exhibited still life paintings with subjects such as a vase, a kettle, a cup, or an oil lamp but Tran Thi Truong had a fresh approach, one that she described as “still life but not still”. We jokingly called her “an antique refresher”. That was deemed one of the reasons for her popularity. Many visitors decided to buy her paintings from the minute they laid eyes on them.

Truong is also a well-known writer with acclaimed works from the early 90s. Therefore, many people viewed the exhibition as the writer's “gap time” while she sought inspiration for her next literary works. Going to her exhibition, many literature fans were surprised. The paintings showcased her skilled techniques as well as ideological values and soulful messages.


- The opening ribbon cutting at the exhibition: "Emotions in color" by
artistTran Thi Truong took place at the end of 2019. Photo: Tran Thi Truong’s files

Pamnella DeVolder, Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy
in Vietnamgiving flowers to congratulate artistTran Thi Truong. Photo: Tran Thi Truong’s files

US Embassy staff receive a portrait of US Vice President Kamala Harris
presented by artistTran Thi Truong. Photo: Tran Thi Truong’s files

Artist Tran Thi Truong completes her artwork. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang / VNP

Tran Thi Truong is also known as a writer who published, Hoai street,
Rain flower and Time turns away. Photo: Thanh Giang / VNP


Tran Thi Truong in the process of completing a sketch. Photo: Thanh Giang / VNP
Literary works of artist and writer Tran Thi Truong. Photo: Thanh Giang / VNP
According to Truong, she had learned to hold a brush even before her writing career began. The artist studied at the University of Industrial Fine Arts, class of 73, in the Faculty of Ceramics, but dropped out after two years.

Believing that “What is worth doing is worth doing well”, after deciding to return to painting, Truong was determined to devote herself to the journey. During this time, she said she was very lucky to have the support of a kind and caring teacher, artist Hai Kien, a lecturer at the National University of Art Education.

Within 6 months, Truong had produced more than 40 still life paintings and all were highly regarded by art lovers and professionals. There were works that were sought out by collectors upon completion.

According to Truong, a beautiful painting must have three elements: color, shape and soul. The first two factors depend on techniques, while the third one in her work was regarded highly by critics, in the way she created a dialogue between viewers and paintings using colors and shapes. For example, the kettle, a memory of Hanoi during the subsidy period, appeared in her paintings as a vehicle awakening memories of a time long past. “I recognize that everything has a soul, in my paintings I paint that soul,” she said.

Artworks by artist Tran Thi Truong. Photo: Tran Thi Truong’s files

More notably, 2019 also marked the release of “Pho Hoai” (Hoai street), a new novel from Truong. The novel, which was a hit, was regarded as “a language museum about the Vietnamese subsidy period”. Such works showed how incredible creative energy one could have if one possessed such passionate love for life, even at the age of 70. Before ending our conversation, the writer and painter reminded us to help her convey a message to readers: “It's never too late to start, so never let yourself be afraid”.
Story: Thao Vy
Photos: Tran Thanh Giang, Files
Translated by Hong Hanh

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