Italian artist inspired by sudden bond, friendship with Vietnam

For Italian painter Laura Federici, the chance to visit Vietnam and paint in the country was a long-held dream that has now come true.
Italian artist inspired by sudden bond, friendship with Vietnam ảnh 1Laura Federici and Nguyen Dam Thuy at their exhibition in HCM City (Photo courtesy Laura Federici)
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - For Italian painter Laura Federici, the chance to visit Vietnam and paint in the country was a long-held dream that has now come true.

Before her trip to Vietnam, she had only learned of the country through photos. But what she saw was enough to spark fascination.

“I dreamed this trip for years,” she said. “I planned it but I couldn’t come to Vietnam until I received the invitation from Carlotta Colli, Consul General of Italy in Ho Chi Minh City.”

Colli invited her to join a special artists’ residency project this year. She stayed at the house of Nguyen Dam Thuy, a local artist, and they worked together for a month and a half.

She accepted the invitation with enthusiasm. For her, it was a special occasion to work in Vietnam and get to know a working Vietnamese artist.

“I do not like traveling for ‘tourism’,” she said. “I like to travel on business.”

Federici visited the Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang and Sa Pa town in the northern province of Lao Cai. Though she didn’t see the entire country, she prefers a slower, more intimate exploration process to cramming many sites into one trip.

Federici didn’t aim to understand the entire country. The simple things charmed her.

“Everyday life, the streets, people, the newspaper, I feel everything with pieces of my heart,” she said. “Vietnam is a growing country. I perceived the optimism of this change.”

The country’s landscape also impressed her.                                                                           

“I found the nature absolutely overwhelming. I saw a great beauty. But I also perceived the danger that the beauty may be lost,” she said. “The risk exists around the world due to climate change and pollution.”

Her home

Federici and HCM City-based artist Nguyen Dam Thuy were strangers to each other but quickly developed a connection, becoming close friends who inspired each other in their art work.

“I felt like I staying at my home especially because my daughter is the same age as Thuy’s twins,” she said. “I was welcomed and pampered like an aunt coming from afar; we worked shoulder to shoulder every day.”

Thuy and Federici painted about “home”—a term that encapsulated their own houses, the house they shared together and the Earth, home to everyone. An exhibition of their works was organised in Hanoi and HCM City last month.

Federici painted what she experienced in Vietnam and the emotions she encountered in each place she visited.

“I painted nature, water and floating houses in the Mekong Delta region. I have represented daily life in my works, the simple moments of every day, the warm core around which we gather: home.”

She is planning an exhibition in Milan and Rome where she will display the paintings she created in Vietnam.

Painter Thuy said Federici’s journey took her into the heart of another culture.

“We came to understand each other strangely well when we joined the Home project,” she said. “At some point we became close as sisters.”

Thuy said neither woman spoke English -their only shared language- well, but they communicated with each other through their creations and shared ideas and emotions as they painted.

“Maybe we are women who always respect the idea of ‘home’, and we are concerned with the environmental issues which influence on the planet – our common house,” Thuy said. - VNA

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