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

Proving Provenance

Protecting intellectual properties in ASEAN countries using blockchain, IoT and NFC technology Counterfeit goods can be replicas or first copies, making it impossible for the layperson to differentiate. These counterfeit products can be as expensive as the originals. According to a recent survey by the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance, 80 percent of consumers buy

Read More »

The Night Never Sleeps

Experience the Pulsating Energy of the City’s Nightlife at Atmos and Kasho Clubs It’s rare that the darkened, red neon- streaked quarters of Atmos Club (2nd Floor, 153 Ton That Dam, D1) aren’t at least mostly filled with patrons, almost all young Vietnamese clients who seem to have walked out of fashion magazines dressed defiantly

Read More »

Roar In The New Year

The dance is believed to bring fortune, but how is the costume made “Lions and Dragons are symbols of luck and prosperity. For the Vietnamese, without luck there is no life,” says Nhu Tra, a dancer from the Ha Nhan Duong troupe. “Which is why you will see lion dancing not just around Tet but

Read More »

App Learning

Enzo Smith talks about the creation of his Vietnamese language learning game app Did you study a language for multiple years in high school or college? Did you learn a language while studying abroad? Now ask yourself if you could hold a basic conversation in that language if somebody fluent were to come up to

Read More »

A Hard Day’s Work

JUANCARLOS DURAN SOLORZANO (www.facebook.com/Juancaphotography) is a professional photographer with more than six years of experience in the industry. His latest solo exhibition was a collaboration between his native Mexico and Vietnam titled “Mexico – Vietnam Cross borders”. It was showcased in the Ethnology Museum and in Deutsches Haus in Ho Chi Minh City. He also

Read More »

Gift Guide December 2019

Sunken Treasures Beneath the murky surface of the Brokopondo Hydro Lake in Suriname, South America, lies a hidden treasure that’s over 60 years—a 150,000-hectare underwater tropical forest. However, harvesting this submerged wood is difficult because divers must venture 15 meters deep into the lake to recover it. Through innovation and technology, Brokopondo Lakewood (www.facebook.com/Lakewoodvn) brings

Read More »