Uyen Huy – Artist, People’s Teacher : I have absolute confidence in youth talents

* What drove you to become the professional advisor for Vietart Today 2016?

- After having made reference to the mission and objectives of The V Art, organizer of Vietart Today 2016, I see the V Art is  a good platform for Vietnamese people. The V Art is strongly dedicated to discovering talents, and supporting them in many ways. They also present favourable conditions for developing young Vietnamese artists. I think the trilateral collaboration between the V Art, Young Artists Club under Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association and Galerie Nguyen (main sponsor) is on a sound track. Thus, I decided to accept the offer as an advisor for the contest.

I am in favour of these following key points: 1) The V Art and Galerie Nguyen create a favourable platform for discovering young talents for Vietnamese fine arts; a professional artistic “playing field” for youth to meet up and showcase their talents to both domestic and international audience. I resort to the phrase “playing field” in this context, yet, I am really not into it. Never before have I seen art as a game and art creative space as a “playing field”. As art is born out of candid innovation, intellectual and emotional devotion based on love for art and true feelings from the bottom of our hearts. Nevertheless, here I make do with the phrase “playing field”. 2) The V Art and Galerie Nguyen have helped to introduce fine arts by Vietnamese youth to experts, mainstream collectors, art lovers in the region and across the world. It can be said that young artists have been offered opportunities to access and penetrate into the professional art space of the international community.  

Collectors, among others, play their parts to evoke and cherish the love for art, as well as all-round talent and inspiration for artists. Young artists who have given their true passion for and devotion to art, will decide for themselves how to nurture and grow their talent, emotions, uniqueness, and their preferred working environment no matter if they have graduated from academic institutions or not.

Each collector follows his own path for his intended style and wishes to find a matching artist while young talents are very diversifying. It is essential for us to unearth, nurture and bring into full play the uniqueness in them. More than ever, the community of professional artists and academic institutions encourage young talents to demonstrate their talent and preserve their own style. It is expected that many collectors will find their own confidence and hope out of these young talents. 

The works “Butcher’s shop” (oil on canvass, 150cm x 400cm, 2012) by contestant Nguyen Van Du

* Many claim that institutions like fine arts museums still lack space and appropriate mechanisms for contemporary art and young artists. What is your view on this?

- It is obvious that up to now, there has been a long-lasting absence of architecture for professional museums on fine arts in Vietnam. There are no architectural designs developed for fine arts museums. All the museums are scattered, provisional with the motto of “make do with anything available”. There are no professional museums due to lack of attention, vision and art knowledge, not least other things attached to the museums.

In this context, is it impractical to touch upon the space and mechanism for contemporary art. The professionals themselves have to make a clear difference between modern and contemporary space. It’s only when one has mastered all the characteristics, nature and scale of fine arts museum that he/she can draw up clear “assignments” for architectural designers specializing in fine arts museum design. 

In Vietnam, it is a reality that apart from academic institutions, there are still shortages of museum, gallery, human capital, state investment, administration capacity and professional knowledge and expertise of all involved parties, etc.. to consider art professional. These shortcomings inevitably affect artists in many ways and the youth in particular.

* Do you think that the  number of courses on contemporary art adopted by art academic institutions is sufficient?

- The starting point is that for quite long, people have not developed their taste for art. Meanwhile, some see art and literature of capitalism as inappropriate. Due to lack of information coupled with conservatism in educational orientations, there has been a big gap in art understanding and knowledge since the end of impressionism. This poses great disadvantages for artists, for those who wish to gain insights into the world’s fine arts during the past century, particulary for young generations.

 Over the past 50 years, I have never heard of  any guidelines or attended any seminars focusing on reviewing and updating course syllabi on the world’s art history. Owing to the gap in art history and art theories, we become reluctant towards arts exchange in the era of integration. I cannot tell how the future unfolds! I am deeply concerned as a lecturer, an artist and an art administrator. It is said that “looking into the future is through the past and the present”. This saying absolutely holds true. Nevertheless, I have absolute confidence in young artists for their talent, national consciousness and self-esteem. I believe they have gradually gained deeper understanding for history. They will try their best to learn and grow their confidence, and to manifest their talent, uniqueness and Vietnamese cultural identity through their works.

    * Against this backdrop, in your opinion, can contests such as Vietart Today 2016 contribute  to paving the way, shaping choices and generating hope, etc among art students?

- As long as the contest and the V Art stick to the not-for-profit principle, given thorough understanding of art, effective and continuous sponsorship and assistance, devotion, extensive communication campaign with the participation of art experts from different backgrounds of education, communications, etc., I believe there are bright prospects for this contest. This contest can have gradual impacts in that it encourages creation, inspires confidence and hope..., thus providing young talents with options for their own path.


 The contest calls for works by young Vietnamese artists aged under 40. The First Prize is worth over 2.6 billion dong, followed by over 1.5 billion dong and over 1 billion dong for Second and Third Prize respectively. The contest is co-organized by the V Art and Young Artists Club under Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association, with main sponsorship by Galerie Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City. The Award Ceremony Night is scheduled to commence at the end of February, 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City. For further information, please visit the website:

By Hiền Hòa