Arts

Seeing Vietnam through rice paintings

With a desire to create unique and unusual art featuring Vietnam’s beauty, Nguyen Thi Van from Soc Son district, Hanoi has done research and made paintings using grains of rice.

Even though she has no background in the arts, Van at 44 has always had a strong passion for paintings made from natural materials, including egg shells, leaves and sand. In 2015 she made her first painting from rice which reflected the calligraphy, “Tam”. She donated the piece to Phu Lo kindergarten, where she was working, to auction for charity. This painting was liked by many people which further motivated Van’s passion. Then she has started creating more artworks as presents for her relatives and friends. In 2016, Van and her husband opened a workshop and officially sold rice paintings. 



Classifying roasted rice grains.


Van herself has roasted rice that helps her create rice grains of difference colors. 


Van sketches her idea on a wooden board.


 Applying glue the roasted rice grains on the board.


Arranging the roasted rice grains according to the sketch. 


Van supports her partner on making rice painting. 



Making rice painting requires the patience and carefulness. 


The painting is coated with glossy paint and termite repellent.

 


According to Van, the rice used to make a painting is a long and firm grain variety. Van herself has roasted rice that helps her create rice grains of different colors. These colors are made to follow the idea of each painting. For example, a batch of regular roasted rice creates a yellowish white hue while a dark brown batch needs to be roasted for five to six hours. 

These colors are made to follow the idea of each painting. For example, a batch of regular roasted rice creates a yellowish white hue while a dark brown batch needs to be roasted for five to six hours. 

It takes one to three days to finish a painting. Van sketches her idea on a wooden board, applies glue and arranges the roasted rice grains according to the sketch. Depending on the theme of each painting, she places each grain following the selected colors on the board. The painting is then dried and coated with glossy paint and termite repellent.

Monthly, Van’s workshop makes 170 to 200 rice paintings in various sizes which reflect countryside landscapes such as rice fields, banyan trees, wharves, and famous relics in Hanoi like Sword Lake, the Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda as well as calligraphy.

“My pieces have been bought as presents for foreigners. I would like to contribute to promoting the images and beauty of the Vietnamese culture in general and Hanoi in particular to more international friends and localities,” Van said.



Works with themes of the Vietnamese people and land: 














 

Story: Ngan Ha Photos: Khanh Long Translated by Nguyen Tuoi

Reviving the Tuong Art of Hue

Reviving the Tuong Art of Hue

Over time, the tuong (classical art) of Hue has gradually disappeared, but fortunately, the passionate artists of the Hue Traditional Royal Theater have tried to preserve andare seeking to revive this unique art form.

Top