The Chicken—An inspiration to painters

Friday, 2017-01-27 14:53:08
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Painter Thanh Chuong's a painting
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NDO—Reminiscing of Tet in the old days, no-one can forget the image of chickens in the Dong Ho, Kim Hoang and Hang Trong folk paintings. Tu Xuong, a Confucian-educated poet, wrote that only a rooster painting could make the Tet atmosphere for ten thousands of families. As the Lunar New Year of the Rooster approaches, the image of chickens has become again an inspiration to popular contemporary painters, among them collaborators of Nhan Dan Monthly. Their works have helped to send the readers the best wishes for a happy Lunar New Year.

Painter Thanh Chuong:

“Spring 2017 marks 60 years since I painted A Couple of Chickens, and it won the gold prize at the 1958 International Junior Painting Contest and Exhibition in the UK. This painting, presented to Nhan Dan Monthly as a New Year’s gift, is one of a series of 60 paintings on chickens, which will be exhibited on the occasion of my birthday (January 20, 2017). For many artists, including myself, subjects are only ways to show our shaping ability in the fine arts. Therefore, the chickens in my paintings also have sadness, happiness, families and emotions like humans. This species of poultry is also considered a symbol of the happiness of gatherings, as well as of eternity. Through my rooster painting, I hope that this Year of the Rooster will be a happy and warm year for all families in particular and for our country in general. The country will continue to face numerous difficulties and challenges, but with the spirit of solidarity, the people will overcome them to achieve even more.”

Painter Pham An Hai:

“In my picture on chickens for the Lunar New Year of the Rooster, I selected the Nhu Y pattern (an S-shaped ornamental object), which is a symbol of good luck associated with Dai Cat (the rooster of good fortune) of Dong Ho folk painting. This is a rare realist painting on chickens among works with an abstract style, which I have pursued for many years. Through my painting, I hope that a happy and profitable year will come to all Vietnamese families. This is also my message, which I want to send through my work dedicated to Nhan Dan Monthly.”

Painter Le Tri Dung:

“For me, after the horse, the Rooster is a beautiful animal, which symbolises five distinguished virtues: beauty, strength, courage, trust and humanity. For this reason, rooster paintings are symbols of happiness, luck and prosperity—the long-held dreams of humanity. A couplet of Dong Ho paintings illustrating vinh hoa(“honour”) and phu quy (“wealth”) express traits that the rooster symbolises and they embody the wishes of the people in the new year. A painting showing a little boy hugging a rooster with the caption vinh hoa written below and another of a little girl embracing a duck with the label phu quy reflect the people’s ultimate desire for prosperity and happiness. As well as Vietnam, with many other countries, the Rooster is considered a symbol of freedom, they believe that the sun, dispelling the darkness, will rise when the rooster crows. For this reason, I draw a cock and a flaming sun on the top of my Tet painting.”

Painter Nguyen Thi Hien:

“In the Year of the Rooster, I selected the image of a rooster family. The painting features a mother hen and its chickens, which were protected by a mighty father cock. The food and warmth, the fullness and the gathering are my desires, which I want to send to all families in general and myself in particular through my painting.”

Painter Pham Ha Hai:

“The Lunar New Year of the Rooster is coming, and everybody is excited about nice things and new opportunities in the new year. Many painters are painting multicolour images of roosters with their beauty, which represent fortune and power.

As a painter pursuing an abstract style, I usually choose evocative thinking. In the Dong Ho folk paintings, I greatly enjoy a painting named 'Ga Dan' (“hen surrounded by chickens”). Contemplating the beauty of motherly love of the “mother and child” chicken, I have thought about the “womb of a hundred eggs” legend. For this reason, the set of paintings named 'Au Co Mother', with 100 pictures measuring 30 x 25 centimetres, was born. The mother’s love and the filial devotion are the image of the eggs and the pallet’s foundation. The work is a message about gratefulness, sharing and the beauty of tradition, which I want to convey to all readers.”

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