Viet Nam Cultural Space holds attraction for South African visitors

The portrait of a vibrant and rich cultured Vietnam has been successfully illustrated in Cultural Space at “Vietnam Day in South Africa 2023”, offering the local community many exciting experiences.

 

As one of the main activities held on the occasion of Madame Vo Thi Anh Xuan, Vice President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam’s official visit to South Africa from 14th to 17th September 2023, Viet Nam Cultural Space conveyed a message to the world via its theme “Origin, Vitality and Prosperity”. While “Origin” shows who we are and where we come from and “Vitality” introduces an energetic, dynamic and friendly Viet Nam society, “Prosperity” draws a Viet Nam in the future where young generations respect and succeed traditional culture values to bring it forward.

The “Origin” of the characteristic wet rice civilization

In the Viet Nam Cultural Space, the message “Origins” is expressed through UNESCO-recognized world cultural heritages in Viet Nam, traditional festivals and daily life of the “Rice Civilization” community beautifully portrayed in the photo exhibition named “Viet Nam Vitality”, or through Dong Ho folk paintings…

During the event, visitors not only enjoy the typical artwork of Dong Ho folk paintings but can also engage in the process of making the painting, from wood engraving to printing on paper following traditional methods. Given materials such as Poonah paper and natural colors made out of bamboo leaf, charcoal, indigo leaf, umbrella trees, and woods…, each visitor can make their own unique painting in a very enjoyable way.

At “Viet Nam Days in South Africa 2023”, the South African visitors had the opportunity to learn how to make Dong Ho paintings – the quintessential beauty of Vietnamese culture.

 

Portrait of a fresh, dynamic, and vibrant Viet Nam

Throughout their thousands-of-year history, Vietnamese people have always shown a strong vitality and the ability to overcome all difficulties and hardships. In the past, “Viet Nam’s vitality” was widely known through its victories in many wars against foreign invaders. That vitality today is also reflected by Viet Nam’s strong recovery after the pandemic. All colors of its daily life were well portrayed through every single photo in the exhibition “Viet Nam Vitality”, giving visitors a closer look to a modern and beautiful Viet Nam with its friendly and positive people.

The theme of “Vitality” is also depicted by large-scale lacquer paintings picturing the beautiful scenery of Hoan Kiem Lake throughout the four seasons by artist Tran Anh Tuan. In this exhibition, his paintings were introduced together with interactive and experiential activities. Visitors had the opportunity to experience making lacquer paintings and trinkets such as bracelets, and necklaces from multiple materials: silver, gold, seashells, eggshells…

Artist Tran Anh Tuan guided international friends on how to make lacquer paintings

 

How Vietnamese young people inherit and modernize traditional values

Viet Nam’s traditional cultural values have continued and prospered for generations. 
The collections of traditional costumes named “Golden Journey”, designed and made by the 90s generation, or the performances of young artisans from Dong Ho and Xuan La craft villages following their ancestors footsteps to keep traditional values flourishing are just a few among many proofs in this spirit.

The exhibition “Golden Journey” displayed costumes of the Nguyen Dynasty restored by young Vietnamese people who cherish and desire to spread traditional cultural values in contemporary society. The patterns on the costumes of different social classes are vividly reproduced on the costume samples displayed. The exhibition also offered 10 sets of royal costumes and Ao Dai for visitors to wear and take photos, capturing their memorable moments and experiences while visiting Cultural Space.

 

Along with the experience of wearing ancient costumes, the ‘Tohe’ shaping activity also brought a nice surprise to the audience. ‘Tohe’ is the art of forming little things (flowers, toys, characters…) out of wet colored glutinous rice powder. Viet Nam Culture Space in South Africa invited artisan Dang Dinh Thuong from Tohe Xuan La craft village – Phu Xuyen (Hanoi) who has been growing up in a family with 5 generations of professionals. He brought to South Africa his artworks reflecting the symbols of the “Rainbow Nation” such as giraffes, aborigines, protea flowers, purple poinciana flowers… In addition, guests were allowed to shape different items and their desired animals using glutinous rice mixed with food coloring, then take them home as souvenirs.

The “Tohe” making activity gave visitors a first-handed experience with Vietnamese culture.

 

The Cultural Space has successfully introduced Viet Nam’s unique cultural characteristics through the series of events at “Viet Nam Days in South Africa 2023”. The organizers believed a wide range of experiences and activities have highlighted Viet Nam’s culture as a country with its rich tradition that continues to thrive with youthful, modern vitality.