Hanoi celebrates 15 years of administrative boundary adjustment 12th Vietnam-France decentrialized cooperation conference 31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Sep 04, 2023 / 13:49

Visiting Co Do Village: Hometown of fine arts lovers

Co Do Village, home to many well-known painters of Vietnam, is a must-visit travel destination in Hanoi.

About 70 km from t Hanoi's downtown, Co Do Village in Ba Vi District is a quiet village along the Red River.

It is also known as the "village of painters" because of the presence of painters in almost every one of its 5,000 households. Many of them are active members of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association and work as professional artists.

 

 Visitors from far and wide flock to the Co Do Fine Arts Museum. Photo: Ho Ha/The Hanoi Times

 

The pioneer who initiated the tradition of painting for the village was the late painter Nguyen Sy Tot.

Born in 1920, he liked to draw since childhood, so he often wandered around the village with a pencil, sometimes just a lump of charcoal, drawing pictures of communal houses, temple gates, and rice fields. Then he joined the army and drew propaganda posters. His talent earned him a chance to study at the Vietnam College of Fine Arts, where he was taught by the prominent artist  To Ngoc Van (1906 - 1954).

After the war, Sy Tot returned to his hometown and used his brush to capture images of the village and portraits of the hardworking and kind-hearted farmers. People gathered around him to watch him paint and were fascinated.

As many villagers were interested in painting, Sy Tot taught them to paint for free. Since then, more and more Co Do villagers have taken up fine arts.

A corner of Co Do Village. Photo: Ho Ha/The Hanoi Times

Many of Sy Tot's paintings are currently held by the Vietnam  Museum of Fine Arts as well as foreign museums in the USA, France, Germany, Sweden and Poland. With nearly 1,000 paintings, Sy Tot held an important position in the Vietnamese art landscape.

Generations of Sy Tot's descendants and students continue to produce artwork. The Co Do Fine Arts Museum officially opened in 2016, becoming a place to display paintings by the people of Co Do.

Hoang Tuan Viet, chairman of the Co Do Fine Arts Club, said the village now has two art museums, including the Sy Tot Museum and the Co Do Fine Arts Museum, as well as many family galleries.

The Co Do Fine Arts Club currently has 37 artists, including eight members of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association and two members of the Hanoi Fine Arts Association. The club regularly organizes drawing sessions and sends paintings to many exhibitions around the country.

landscapes, still life, and portraits are the favorite subjects of Co Do painters. Every angle of daily life is truthfully captured in the paintings. Visitors to the village are amazed to see a farmer come out of the rice field, wash his hands and paint a beautiful painting.

"Co Do is a town of painters. The passion for painting is nurtured by our people. Thanks to art, life is more beautiful and we feel very happy," said artist Hoang Luong.

According to painter Luong Xuan Doan, chairman of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, perhaps it is the beautiful landscape and cultured lifestyle that gave rise to Co Do paintings and the villagers' admirable creativity.

"The art in Co Do Village still retains the essence of Vietnamese aesthetics and culture. Someone's brushstrokes may be clumsy, but they are able to convey the true emotions of the artists and their own perspectives, so the artwork has a unique charm," said artist Luong Xuan Doan.

With the support of the authorities, Co Do Village will awaken its cultural and artistic potential and become a unique destination for capital tourism, Doan said.

Inspiring children's love of painting

Every year during the Summer, members of the Co Do Fine Arts Club give free painting lessons to children. It's a healthy and useful playground during the summer vacation and arouses the passion for art in the young generation.

 Children gather to learn painting. Photo: VNA

This Summer course started in June and ended at the end of August, as the children will start the new school year on September 5.

Nguyen Thi Tung Chi regularly attended three sessions a week at the Co Do Fine Arts Museum to learn painting with her friends.

"We always look forward to the teacher's lesson. We also compete to see whose drawing will be praised by the teacher. We love to draw still life, environment, our dream and hometown," Chi said.

 A still-life painting of a little painter at Co Do Village. Photo: VNA

In 2006, the Co Do Fine Arts Club was established, and since then, free drawing classes have been held at the Co Do Fine Arts Museum. So far, more than 350 children, many of them disadvantaged children, have been taught to draw for free.

"The free painting class represents the continuation of the village's painting tradition, which is a place to awaken and cultivate young painters for the homeland and the country. The class not only inspires children to create, explore and develop their imagination, but is also a playground for children in Co Do in the summer," said painter Hoang Tuan Viet.

In 2006, the Co Do Fine Arts Club was established, and since then, free drawing classes have been held at the Co Do Fine Arts Museum. So far, more than 350 children, many of them disadvantaged children, have been taught to draw for free.

"The free painting class represents the continuation of the village's painting tradition, which is a place to awaken and cultivate young painters for the homeland and the country. The class not only inspires children to create, explore and develop their imagination, but is also a playground for children in Co Do in the summer," said painter Hoang Tuan Viet.

The Co Do Fine Arts Club usually has to raise money elsewhere each year to buy art supplies for the children as the classes are completely free. Therefore, they hope that sponsors will take notice of them and help them hold more free drawing classes for children, said painter Hoang Tuan Viet.

 Painter Hoang Tuan Viet brings children to the Co Do Fine Arts Museum. Photo: VNA