Second Thoughts

Saeko Ando artist revisits her early works

A Japanese artist based in Vietnam since 1995, Saeko studied Son Mai lacquer painting under artist Trinh Tuan, lacquer master Doan Chi Trung and lacquer craftsman Lam Huu Chinh. She has continued to use natural lacquer in the face of competition from artificial lacquer, ensuring the continuous of this ancient craft in the modern era by integrating tradition with innovation.

BlueBack

Vietnamese lacquer is harvested in the lacquer plantations of Phu Tho province, northwest of Hanoi. Each tree gives only a small amount of lacquer each day, which is collected in mussel shells strapped to the narrow tree trunks. It is a mysterious substance that breathes and matures like good wine. The glow, hardness and clarity of Vietnamese lacquer improve with the passing years and this is part of its fascination.

These days, most of the lacquer paintings we see in shops and galleries are made with synthetic lacquers. Some even use household paints. Saeko, however, has persevered with this ancient medium and made it into something very modern and exquisite through innovative techniques and her signature style.

When asked where she finds her inspiration, she quoted an old Japanese saying: “Even a dog will come up with a stick when they walk around.” Saeko explains that she always has her eyes wide open and inspiration comes in layers, in sudden explosions and in dawning realizations depending on the day. 

unnamed (2)

For this exhibition, Saeko has chosen some works that she has revisited. The original works were completed some years ago, but following a gift of some rare Cambodian lacquer, she has reworked some paintings. She sees this as a collaboration with her former self. This is an interesting development considering that these older paintings still live and breath as she, herself, does and the pieces that she once thought were finished are, now, not finished. It is a reminder that a lacquer painting is never finished because it changes in color, clarity and hardness even if you never touch it again.

Exhibition on from April 24 – May 25 at March Gallery (25 Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An; marchgallery-hoian.com), and April 14 – May 19th at Anantara art space (1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An;
artspacehoian.com)
 

Text and Images Provided by March Gallery 

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Shared Knowledge

The spirit of connectedness and increased knowledge for increased knowledge sharing that animates UpLearn “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” goes the now-famous quote by former Obama advisor Rahm Emanuel. The quote seems tailored to this moment, this very one where “crisis” seems to be in abundance. The rest of it—well, where might

Read More »

Electric Youth

Oi speaks to Celine Ventalon about Miha Bodytec and EMS training in Saigon What is Electric Muscle Stimulator (EMS)?Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training is a full-body workout that originally comes from a physiotherapy and combines a ‘free will contraction’ through an exercise and an external stimulus from an EMS device. This high-intense whole-body workout uses

Read More »

Nước Mắm

Dedicated to my tenacious bà ngoại (grandma) Text by Emili N. Lok I am a 13-year-old Vietnamese-American living in NYC. I’m also a boba lover, a Korean drama watcher, and a self-proclaimed spice food maniac. I’m currently a 7th grade student and wrote this story to feel more connected to the Vietnamese side of my

Read More »

A Tale of Two Traditions

The origin and evolution of Vietnamese traditional medicine The current historical (and hysterical?) moment has brought into sharp focus Vietnam’s northern neighbor, specifically a practice that feels almost occultish: the eating of exotic animals. It’s a custom that deserves context: Vietnam’s northern neighbor consumes animals reportedly for their healing or medicinal properties. Similarly, the Fito

Read More »

Switch Off and Connect

DIY workshops for crafts and beauty products with Amber House The do-it-yourself (DIY) urge is in full resurgence as people voluntarily limit their (solo!) social media consumption in favour of face-to-face interaction with others and creating communities. More and more people are seeking new experiences instead of obtaining more and more things. Amber Nguyen established

Read More »

The Quarantined Couple

The day after Jake* went to Buddha Bar on March 14 with his girlfriend Amy*, he remembered he felt sick, a sore throat and mild fever. It was similar to his girlfriend’s day-long fever and aches. Nothing too serious for either. Something more severe may have triggered alarm in him. Their visit happened as Vietnam

Read More »