Christine Nguyen, who loaned a work to Ambassador Kritenbrink’s CMR exhibition in Hanoi, participated in a cross-cultural exchange with Hanoi-based Arts Build Communities (ABC) to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam.
Christine Nguyen, who loaned a work to Ambassador Kritenbrink’s CMR exhibition in Hanoi, participated in a cross-cultural exchange with Hanoi-based Arts Build Communities (ABC) to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam. The conservation-focused mural, located at the American Club, was jointly designed by Nguyen and four female Vietnamese artists led by Thu Huong of ABC. Covering an area of approximately 100 square meters, the mural seeks to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment by featuring vividly painted fauna and flora. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the collaboration was done virtually, and the final design was executed in-person by Vietnamese artists and members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.
Nguyen worked with artists from ABC, who provided a sketch of creatures present in the natural environment of Vietnam. From that sketch, Nguyen used a process she developed herself to create a photo-based painting she then returned to ABC for their continued input. Nguyen’s unique process, combined with ABC’s creative vision, resulted in a final collaboration that celebrates and pays homage to the landscape and waterscape of Vietnam.
Nguyen’s work combines fantastical fictional worlds with endemic flora and fauna. She imagined a verdant setting filled with creatures soaring through the sky, across the land, and merging with the ocean. She wanted to create something magical, inspiring, and hopeful, all the while appreciating nature. Tropical plants she had seen both in photographs and while visiting Vietnam and its limestone islands in Hạ Long Bay feature prominently in the piece.
Nguyen describes the goal of her art as “to create something positive and uplifting while thinking about the peaceful future… how not only we must protect and be kind to nature and the ocean but also to one another. We are sharing this planet together, and even though we are separated by oceans we are still a part of the same place and constantly learning about nature and the world we live in together.”
“I was excited to be invited for this project, as I am still learning about my heritage and love connecting with people and artists in Vietnam. I am looking forward to visit[ing] Hanoi, and possibly [continuing] this project with workshops and meeting artists in the region,” says Nguyen of this virtual exchange. “It has been a great opportunity to talk and work with a strong and talented group of women in Vietnam.”