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Nguyen Thi Tam was born in 1936 in My tho Province on the upper part of the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam to a middle-class family. In the period prior to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, this place was well-acquainted with the intellectual and artistic atmosphere.
Over 55 years of experience with brushwork and at the age of nearly 80, Nguyen Thi Tam is still spirited and full of creative inspiration.
Her feet and works have left their traces all over the various regions of Vietnam. Two thirds of her repertory of over one thousand works are in silk paintings, an admirable figure in this genre of art which is very selective among its creators and its connoisseurs.
Especially, almost the majority of her works, looked after everywhere, have joined various personal collections in many countries such as Singapore , China, France, the United States of America, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Thailand, Laos…
In a realistic mode, her works have resulted from her field trips and filtered through her personal experiences to express the soul of the landscape in her mind’s eye.
The most distinctive feature of NguyenThi Tam’s works, whether silk, oil, or ink paintings, is the white colour; both pristine and truly intimate. To many persons, white is not a colour; but in the case of Nguyễn Thị Tâm it is, on the contrary, the main language to express her optimistic, poetical, and serene state of mind before the noise and vexations of modern existence.
She says: “The truth in my works is to eliminate all unnecessary colours, and to leave only the core of simplicity in shapes and colours. The colours of all things are wiped out and abstracted into the whiteness of nothing, as in the world of Zen; and the painting remains a space of purity and transcendence amid its busy surroundings.”
It is known that in the period prior to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 she was a student in wash-drawing for about four years under the guidance of the world-renowned Peking-born painter and miniature ivory sculptor Doi Ngoan-quan who resettled in Paris in the post-war period.
This experience, together with her long practice in silk-painting, and accompanied with her serene mind of Zen Buddhism, offers us a virginal and incomparable whiteness.
Nguyen Thi Tam is rather candid in speaking about her career: “Without boasting, I can say that all my land, home with conveniences, and field trips in-country and abroad, are provided for by my silk-paintings alone. But I am not under the control of money.
I use my tastes and my aesthetics to help orient my clients, but I don’t pamper to the whims of anybody. In reality, I serve the viewers but I never run after their caprices.”
Former Professor of College of Fine Arts of Gia Dinh Saigon, Lecturer of University of Fine Arts of HCMC.
Member of Vietnam and HCMC’s Fine Arts Associations
Chairperson of the HCMC’s Women Artist Club
Vice-Chairperson of the International Women Artist Association/Vietnam (INWAA-VN)
from orient painting
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