Last update: 18:01 | 11/06/2018
VietNamNet Bridge – The first multi-media exhibition featuring Shan Tuyet tea is giving visitors a chance to try a rare kind of Vietnamese tea with senses.
Natural: A photo by Nguyen Tuong Van.
Entitled Tra Art, the exhibition includes installations, drawings, animated movies, photography installations and music by six artists including Nguyen Tuong Van, Nguyen Quynh Phuong, and Marcus Bowler, alongside Tran Thu Hang, Ngo Hong Quang and late illustrator and cartoonist Gerald Gorridge.
The exhibition is the fruit of a project initiated by photographer Van who is a graduate of Gobelins Paris. Van set up the Tra Art project when she was seeking inspiration for creative materials.
"I found this small pack of tea called Shan Viet when I went to the market in Paris," Van said. "It struck me as being beautiful and unique."
Abstract: An installation by Tran Thu Hang. Photo Nguyen Binh
After researching and tasting the tea for six months Van began asking some of her artistic friends to join the project. The artists went to Cao Bo Commune in Vi Xuyen District in of Ha Giang Province last September. They spent a week there meeting with Shan Tuyet tea makers.
Ha Giang is one of the oldest Shan Tuyet tea areas in Vietnam. These tea trees’ buds and young leaves are covered in a thin layer of snowy hair, which gives it its name.
Van built up a portfolio of photos and recordings of the ancient tea trees, outlining their identity, and collecting portraits of the people she met throughout the trips.
Detail: Another photo by Nguyen Tuong Van
A screen showing the photos is guarded by dozens of transparent curtains, infused with Shan Tuyet tea leaves. Visitors must pass through the curtains, which diffuse the scent of the tea.
"I want the exhibition to inspire visitors, especially scientists, in the hope that they will do something to preserve primary tea forests in the country," Van said.
An installation by Hang, a sculptor and a graduate of the Viet Nam Fine Arts University, is also inspired by the trip to Ha Giang. She has created an installation in two parts, representing the terraced fields found in the northern regions.
The terraced fields are made from three layers of curtains, plaited by long bands of sponge which hang from the ceiling to the ground, creating a natural wavy affect. Visitors can walk through gaps in the curtains to reach the next layer of the installation.
Tree roots are made from elastic tubes, stitched together to form branches of roots.
Remniscent: One of the last paintings by late artist Gerald Gorridge. Photo Nguyen Binh
By coming to the exhibition visitors will have chance to see the last works produced by artist Gorridge, who passed away before finishing his final paintings. Seven of his drawings hang from the walls in bamboo frames, demonstrating his love for Vietnam.
"It is interesting to see artworks at an exhibition made by the artists I love," said visitor Nguyen Duy Phuong. "I think people will enjoy using technology to see art by Phuong and Bowler."
Visitors can download the Zappar app on their phones to activate animations by scanning the paintings. Each painting comes with its own animation, providing some information about the Shan Tuyet tea.
Phuong and Bowler graduated from the Cambridge School of Arts, and Anglia Ruskin University, respectively. Phuong is a 2D illustrator and animator in Canada and Bowler is a 2D and 3D animator in the UK.
A musical composition by Ngo Hong Quang will be dedicated to the natural landscapes of Ha Giang. The composition is mixed with sounds recorded in the province.
The exhibition will run at the French Cultural Centre, on 24 Trang Tien Street until July 9.
by Nguyen Thuy Binh