Xuan Quynh first Vietnamese woman on Google Doodle

By Minh Nga   October 6, 2019 | 04:08 am PT
Xuan Quynh first Vietnamese woman on Google Doodle
A painting of Vietnamese poet Xuan Quynh appears on Google Doodle on October 6, 2019.
Xuan Quynh, Vietnam's most famous modern female poet, has been honored on her birth anniversary by Google Doodle Sunday.

Nguyen Thi Xuan Quynh, as she is known officially, is the first Vietnamese woman to be featured on Google home page that commemorates holidays, events, achievements and people.

The painting on the doodle, which recreates a portrait photograph of Xuan Quynh in an ao dai, was illustrated by two Saigon-based artists Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien, who work together under the pen name KAA.

Quynh was born October 6, 1942 in a village now in Hanoi’s Ha Dong District. She was raised by her grandmother and had a talent for dancing.

Recruited by the Central Art Troupe in her early teens, she was trained as a dancer and performed in many countries.

In the 1960s, she began pursuing her talent for writing, taking training courses at the Vietnam Writers' Association.

She later worked with the weekly arts newspaper Van Nghe (arts and literature), the official newspaper of the Hanoi Women’s Union Phu Nu Viet Nam (Vietnamese women), and the publishing house Tac Pham Moi (new literary works).

Quynh became famous for her love poems and perhaps her were best known works are "Thuyen va bien" (The boat and the sea) and "Song" (Sea waves). The painting of her that Google commissioned KAA to do depicts the sea, waves, and a boat.

She also wrote stories and poems for children.

A portrait photo of poet Xuan Quynh. File photo

A portrait photo of poet Xuan Quynh.

Some of her works have been set to music, and her 1967 poem "Song" became so influential that it was taught in Vietnamese high schools.

After going through one divorce, she married distinguished poet and playwright Luu Quang Vu. Tragically, the couple was killed along with their 13-year-old son in a car crash in 1988.

In 2017 the Vietnamese government posthumously awarded Quynh the Ho Chi Minh Prize, the country’s highest artistic honor, for her contributions to 20th-century culture and arts.

Speaking about their painting, artists KAA told Google that "Quynh is one of the most beloved modern poets of Vietnam and every Vietnamese student knows her poems by heart.

"Xuan Quynh is adored for her inspiring, beautiful, and heartfelt poems, along with her love for her husband, also one of the best writers in Vietnam. The death of her and her family was something of a national tragedy, but their legacy lives on.

"She was not only a poet, she was a strong, brave feminist who played an important part in Vietnam’s literary history. In wartime, she stood for peace and love. We hope that people will be inspired by her and remember her words once again," they said.

This is the third time Google has featured a Vietnamese person on its doodle.

On September 1, it featured painter Bui Xuan Phai to mark his 99th birthday.

Phai (1920-1988) is perhaps the most famous Vietnamese modern artist, known for his paintings of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and hat tuong (Vietnamese-Chinese opera) artistes.

Last February lyricist and composer Trinh Cong Son was featured on Google Doodle, marking his 80th birthday.

Other aspects of Vietnamese culture depicted by Google Doodle thus far include: the banh chung (a traditional sticky rice cake); the Khue Van Cac (the pavilion of the Constellation of Literature located inside Vietnam’s first university); the traditional ao dai dress; the Hung Kings Temple Festival (a commemoration of the mythical founders of Vietnam on their death anniversary); and the ancient town of Hoi An, a UNESCO heritage site in central Vietnam.

go to top