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Vietnamese Contemporary Art lifts off in London

SONY DSC Photo Paul Harris

There have been several shows of Vietnamese contemporary art on in London to coincide with the annual event, Asian Art in London (www.asianartinlondon.com). A regular participant in the event is New York-based dealer Raquelle Azran who has been promoting Vietnamese contemporary art and artists worldwide for almost 20 years. Pictured above is part of her exhibit which this year was mounted in St James’s, London, in Masons’ Yard.

Last year she showed in WC1, slightly off the beaten track. Her more central location this year has paid dividends. “I have been very busy this year and just a few days into (the event) I have sold three paintings.” She generally does three UK fairs a year and this year has been at The Affordable Art Fair (Battersea) and The Affordable Art Fair (Hampstead Heath) as well as Asian Art in London. Now she is off to Hamburg with her peripatetic show! In January, she will show at Art Palm Beach. On the first Saturday of the Fair she delivered a talk in the Gallery to around 50 people and, afterwards, there was Vietnamese food laid on by the Vietnamese Embassy in London.

The Vietnamese mission in London had a busy weekend as they also opened their own exhibition of 20th century art drawn from public collections in the Republic. The Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism showed examples of lacquer painting and handicrafts in Kensington Church Street. Although not officially part of Asian Art in London, as the Street is one of the main location for exhibitors in the event there was a good spillover into the temporary gallery. The event was curated by Truc Nguyen, who divides herself between London and Hanoi and operates Egret, a consultancy (www.egretlondon.com).

Vietnamese art exhibit Kensington Church St (8) Photo Paul Harris

The most common question we found asked of her by amazed visitors, most of whom had never seen Vietnamese art before, was “Can we buy any of these pictures?” Of course, the answer was, No. There were some very remarkable works on show, including examples of pyrography (works created by the use of fire) by one of the two artists in the world working with this unusual medium, Trang Nghia Nguyen. To be specific, he makes the fire from a mixture of bat droppings and sugar . . .  surely an explosive mix!

1 Vietnamese exhbn Truc Nguyen, Thu Nguyen

Left Truc Nguyen pictured with Thu Nguyen    Photo Paul Harris

Coincidentally just down the road on Kensington Church Street is to be found the permanent gallery named Art East 133, run by owner Sylvie Skeet. She has been dealing in Vietnamese contemporary art since the year 2000 and bought her gallery in 2010. There you can see Vietnamese art pretty much anytime!

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