by - 9:34 PM

The long and rich history of Vietnam is visible in the various forms of arts in the country.  Vietnamese arts depict the culture and innate skill and talent of the people of Vietnam, whether it be of installation, performance, videos, paintings and the like.

This February of 2011, I was able to discover more of the modern arts of Viet Nam.  This is my second time in the country, but it is only now that I was able to appreciate how intricate and unique Vietnamese art is.  Despite the influence of various cultures, there is really something that marks a truly Vietnamese characteristic on every form of art that is exhibited.

For our first stop, we went to the Handicapped Handicrafts, where working on materials such as oil, acrylic, lacquer on wood and simple paintings were beautifully displayed.  But before we visit the shop itself for souvenirs, it is part of the tour to understand and give recognition to its workers.  True to its name, the handicrafts on display were made by skilled handicapped Vietnamese.

Steps in the creation of great lacquer masterpieces were explained and demonstrated to us, which made me appreciate the true meaning of hardwork and pure talent.  It truly is innovative and sets its own style of what Vietnam arts is all about.

Afterwards, we visited the souvenir shop.  This is a great place to buy souvenirs and gifts to friends and loved ones who enjoys collecting ceramics, paintings and lacquers.  Not only are the prices reasonable and cheap, they are authentic, making it truly a product of Vietnamese arts.

The following day, we visited the Fine Arts Museum of Ho Chi Minh City.  Location is at 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street, District 1, HCMC.  Not far from the Ben Than Market and the Highlands coffee at the corner, we noticed this building which looks like a public school in the Philippines but with a striking and noticeable facade color...yellow!  This structure is described as the home for searching, treasuring and displaying fine artifacts of Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding places.  It was built in the beginning of the 20th century.  

On whatever you may attribute the exterior appearance of the museum...a haunted house, a public school, or an ancestral house, what is essential is what the said structure has to offer.

If you are a lover of sculptures and art installations, you will definitely love this museum.  Outside the museum, you will be greeted by interesting sculptures of various subjects and inspirations, both real and imaginative.

It appears that these scultpures are only a prelude of how grandeur and innovative the art forms displayed inside the museum are.  Wandering inside the museum costs a minimal fee, perhaps for maintenance.  By minimal fee, I mean it's less than a dollar, so it would be advisable to pay in Vietnamese dong.

Upon entering the building, souvenir shops are displayed at the left side and on the right side are handbag lockers, suitable for backpackers, so they would be able move freely and comfortably while inside the museum. 

the souvenir shop

The structure is a three-storey building with various artifacts and paintings to display.  This is also a good venue for photo hobbyists...truly a venue for the various ways of how arts is exhibited and expressed. 

While wandering inside the museum, one noticeable theme is of war and agony.  Paintings are geared towards such theme that you would be able to understand the country's history and culture from a glance.  The said building was only founded in September of 1987, which makes the triumph of Vietnamese soldiers against its invaders fresh in the memory of every citizen.  Aside from its paintings, the 3rd floor is the home of the best Vietnamese traditional fine articles as it transcends centuries, ranging from ceramics, copper, wood, carving, shell-inlaid wood, red painted and gilded wood. 

Thanks for the experience.  This is highly recommended for art-lovers and believers of the freedom of expression.  The featured venues are only a few of the many places where Vietnamese arts is displayed, as even on sidewalks, there are paintings available on display and various art installations as well.  With the literal meaning of fine arts, Vietnamese arts is truly at its finest.

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  1. i'll go here! when i go May!! what a great idea!:) - ysabs

  2. hi ysabs! yup you should go medyo malayo nga lang sa city itself and handicrafts pero cheap ang souvenirs...hehe