HCM CITY — Despite being more recognisable as a writer over the past few decades, 60 oil-on-canvas paintings by Mường Mán, including 20 that he created during social distancing, have gone on display in HCM City.
The fresh colours of each piece show his great vitality and passion for drawing. He gives the paintings poetic titles such as Nguyệt Cầm Trắng (White Moon-shaped Guitar); Sang Thu (Fall Begins); Hạnh Phúc Trôi (Drift Happiness) and Chúc Em Trần Thế Mặn Mà Sắc Hương (Wish You Beauty on Earth).
Some of the paintings are inspired by his literary works of the same name.
“I dreamt of becoming a painter when I was a high-school student,” said the artist.
“I think that literature and painting have a lot in common – they both need creative ideas and profound knowledge.
“Emotional nurturing is necessary before putting pen to paper or picking a paintbrush. I think writing or painting takes a long time.”
Visitors will notice that the main colour of his works is turquoise, using the colour of the sea to represent tranquillity and harmony.
Born in 1947, the artist became a war correspondent in central Việt Nam after he finished high school. He taught himself painting during these years.
He then worked at Phương Nam Culture Company as an editor, where his painting talent was first recognised, designing book covers. His first literary work was published in 1965 and he has gone on to release around 30 books. He is also popular with film scriptwriting.
After retirement in 2008, he began to draw oil-on-canvas paintings from his 300 sketches and illustrations. His first exhibition was in 2019.
His paintings mix romantic spirit with expressionism and a little bit of magical realism, according to fine art critic Lý Đợi.
“I like to name his paintings literature because they are poetic and meaningful. I think that he paints as he would write poems or a story. He defines ideas first and then begins drawing.”
The exhibition is open daily at 145A – Nguyễn Đình Chính Street, Phú Nhuận District until June. — VNS