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

A Complete Guide to Go Camping in Vietnam

Vietnam is a beautiful country with a lot to offer to campers. Most of us imagine Vietnam as a purely tropical country. But, it does have parts that fall into the temperate zone. Apart from a handful of places, it doesn’t get terribly cold, but several locations have cool weather. Visiting the country and seeing

Read More »

#Photojournalism

From climate change protests to democratic uprisings against biased and violent authorities, it is clear that 2019 has been a pivotal year for citizens all over the world. It’s in this context that mobile app Agora launched its first#Photojournalism photo competition, with the objective to give photographers a way to shed light on specific issues. 

Read More »

Disc Jockeys

It is a frantic, fast-paced frisbee free-for-all and it is catching on in Saigon Saigon Monsoon typically plays on the open soccer fields of RMIT, but school closures since the beginning of the year have pushed practices instead to the astroturf of Tao Dan Stadium in the heart of District 3, behind the Independence Palace.

Read More »

To Conserve and Protect

Education for Nature Vietnam Founder and Executive Director Vu Thi Quyen discuss their conservation efforts and how the public can help Shortly after graduating from university, Vu Thi Quyen took part in a conservation project at Cuc Phuong National Park working to educate the local community on why it was important to preserve the integrity

Read More »

Soweto

Soweto, deriving from South Western Township, was established in the 1930s to remove native people from the capital cities and neighboring areas. The first permanent housing erected in this area were the mining houses: long dormitory-style buildings where only men and mineworkers could live. The nearby goldmines are all but exhausted but the large yellow

Read More »

The Customer Experience

Social media marketing trends revolutionizing retail in Vietnam “The store is media,” is the mantra in the best-selling book Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling, written by retail experts Doug Stephens and Joseph Pine. The book explains that “customer experience is the new marketing trend and the best way to generate demand for your retail

Read More »