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Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

By Hieu Nhan   July 23, 2022 | 11:00 pm PT
The simple rhythms of life around Hanoi’s Sword Lake, Cua Bac Church and old houses come to life through Saigon artist Phong Hoang's brushstrokes.
Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

Hoang's watercolor landscape drawings are popular on art-loving social media groups, with people commenting that his works evoke memories of the peaceful old Hanoi. The above painting depicts Sword Lake and Turtle Tower.

The artist said: "When I'm in Hanoi, I walk around the lake every morning and evening, no matter how hot or cold it is. As a result, I can see many different aspects and rhythms of life. It's similar to a piece of music. If you take the time to listen, it's very clear."

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

An old house on Dinh Liet Street with shops in front.

Hoang, who was born and raised in Saigon, has fallen in love with every street corner and close-knit life in the capital city since first visiting it in 2017.

"Hanoi has four seasons, and I regularly go out to feel the changes in weather and see the typical flowers of each season. Since I love it so much here, I decided to capture these beautiful scenes through my paintings."

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

A noodle shop at the intersection of Hang Buom and Ta Hien streets one winter morning.

"I like the atmosphere in the early winter days when it's cold and people crowd roadside food stalls as if to borrow warmth from one another by huddling around. A bowl of smoky vermicelli noodles is brought out; place your hand on it to ward off the chilly and cold wind."

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

The intersection of Nha Tho and Ly Quoc Su streets in front of the iconic St. Joseph's Cathedral. The artist said the paintings were created in Saigon from photos he took while walking the streets of Hanoi. A painting usually takes him one to two weeks to complete.

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

The famous Bui Cong Trung pastry shop, Bac Hai noodles shop and a street stall selling peach blossoms on Hang Bo Street.

"Every image holds a memory for me. It's more than a painting; it's a story. I want people to remember and see my own story. When I post them on social media, I get the chance to read comments from people sharing memories associated with these street corners."

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

The artist painted an old house on Chan Cam Street and a street tea shop in front of it in 2018.

Nguyen Tuyet Hong commented on social media, "Every time I come here to drink a cup of hot tea on an early winter morning, I admire the house."

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

A painting of a person getting earwax removed by a street barber. Hoang said he used blue, yellow, green, and red to paint the background.

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

A painting of the Hanoi Cathedral in 2019. The author added some dark colors to achieve a 1980s and 1990s look.

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

The Chau Long Street intersection. In 2019 a collector bought the painting, which was used on the cover of famous writer To Hoai's book ‘Chuyen Cu Ha Noi’ (Old Story of Hanoi).

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

The corner of Phung Hung and Hang Ma streets.

The artist said he observed the color of the sun before depicting it.
"Viewers can use their own personal aesthetics to feel the different shades of sunlight on each person and object in this painting."

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

The artist painted Hang Be Market in 2021. Hoang plans to hold an exhibition of his works.

"But I am not rushing it since I want to take time to create beautiful paintings of favorite scenes. When holding a brush, there must be emotion to incorporate love in each stroke."

Hanoi through the eyes of a Saigon painter

Cua Bac Church in late 2020 amid a cold drizzle and vendors on bicycles carrying daisies. The artist revealed that this work has been sold to a collector but did not reveal the price.

Hoang, born in 1987 and painting since 2008, is a member of the International Watercolor Association and the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association.

 
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