First Painting Exhibition In Hanoi On Homosexuality

Truong Tien TraHANOI, VIETNAM – Recently, homosexuality has been discussed broadly in the media. Articles on the lives of several homosexual men have even been run the on the front pages of many newspapers. Names of several of these men were even publicised. Not long before, the state TV showed a series of films on homosexuality.
It is said that the Vietnamese media has been more open in discussions of the issue, which had been seen as sensitive. The 12 paintings by Truong Tien Tra to be displayed, therefore, have caught the public’s attention.
Tra is an artist who has just come back to Vietnam on a summer holiday as he is still studying in Russia.
“I studied for six years in Vietnam. During that time I found it very hard to decide what style of art I would follow. I painted to express my feelings on what I had seen in my childhood,” he said.
Tra then got a scholarship to study in Russia, where, as he said, he has gotten the opportunity to find out more about new subjects of art.
His art project was formed to put focus on the subject of homosexuality. “I neither show support nor criticise. I just want to depict what I have seen in my life through my paintings,” said Tra.
His works will be shown in three different stages.
This year, Tra will display his 12 paintings, which, according to him, will not be too shocking for conservative audiences. With this first exhibition he hopes that people will recognise homosexuality more as a phenomenon than as many conservative people think: as a ‘sickness’.
In the second stage of his project, in 2007, “stronger” paintings will be showcased.
Subsequently, Tra will organise his first exhibition of body art. Inside each of 10 big follicles will be a male or female homosexual couple. The exhibition will be similar to a performance, with the music to be written by famous Vietnamese composer Hoang Quan.
Tra is not the first artist in Vietnam to focus on the subject of homosexuality. Before him, Truong Tan showed paintings on the subject. But his paintings were not widely applauded as they were seen as too “strong” for audiences.
Finding a gallery for his paintings has proven difficult for Tra. He has been refused by Goethe Institute and the Centre for French Language and Culture, L’Espace, in Hanoi.
from The VietNamNet Bridge

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