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Vietnamese artist holds solo exhibition in Spain




Vietnamese artist Trần Việt Hà is pictured at her solo exhibition, The Female Gaze. — Photo courtesy of the artist

SORIA — Photographs of Vietnamese women in traditional dresses are on display at an exhibition at Ducal Palace of Medinaceli, Spain.

Showcasing over 30 photographs, The Female Gaze marks the first time Madrid-based Trần Việt Hà has showcased such a large number of Vietnamese photographs, some of them were created in collaboration with famed fashion designers Văn Thành Công and Hulos Prive (Huỳnh Hải Long).

Hà’s solo show, curated by Foundation DEARTE Contemporary, also includes her signature romanticism-style portraits of Western women that have been widely published around the world.

The photographs were taken by the Vietnamese artist from the beginning of her career to during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Female Gaze features Hà’s portraits of Vietnamese women in traditional dresses. — Photo courtesy of the artist

“This is my first physical exhibition since the COVID-19 pandemic and I was very nervous during the preparation process since I wanted to create a very special exhibition that is truly worth a visit and provokes strong emotions,” Hà told Việt Nam News.

“There is a strong interest in the Spanish public in art and cultural activities since the pandemic, hence this motivated me a lot to create a unique and meaningful exhibition, especially at such a beautiful and historical place like Ducal Palace of Medinaceli.”

The highlights of The Female Gaze are Hà’s two award-winning and globally published series with a focus on Việt Nam – The Lotus Lake and The Golden Imprint – that she photographed in Hà Nội and HCM City respectively in 2013 and 2014. By showcasing two special series, the photographer aims to promote Vietnamese beauty to the Spanish public.

A photo in The Lotus Lake series is exhibited at The Female Gaze. — Photo courtesy of the artist

“What I have noticed is after such a strange and tough time of the COVID-19 pandemic, people tend to look within their souls and appreciate all kinds of beauty and emotions. The pandemic changed the way people look at life and beauty,” the artist said.

“Through this exhibition, I wanted to highlight the beauty of all kinds of emotions through the women’s portraits: sadness and suffering, happiness and joy. All these states of mind are human and there is beauty in it.

“For example, the photographs in The Lotus Lake series talk about remaining pure and calm amidst the murkiness, as you know the lotus flower grows out of the muddy water of the lake. The photographs of women in water talk about broken dreams and the strength to overcome disappointment and sadness. A wound is where the light enters and if we learn how to accept the suffering, we can transform it into an infinite source of strength. Every experience, no matter how horrible it might seem, holds a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it,” she added.

The Female Gaze will run until November 28.

Hà is well known for her emotionally dense and endlessly compelling photographs of women. Her art emphasises fantasy and imagination as a source of aesthetic experience. Instead of taking photos, she tries to paint women’s emotions, inner dreams, intimacy, poetry, and philosophy with her camera.

The Madrid-based Vietnamese artist is a fine art photographer and multi-disciplinary artist whose name is officially listed in the art market since 2015 and published in over 120 newspapers and magazines around the world. In 2020, she was commissioned by Louis Vuitton Paris to paint a large abstract painting for the inauguration of an international store.

Her photographs have been featured on the Spanish national news Expansión, El Economista and El Adelantado, The Times of India, The Hindu, Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair France, at Saatchi Gallery London, and were auctioned by Christie’s Hong Kong for charity. In addition, her works have appeared in physical public auctions in Spain alongside works by Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Banksy and Andy Warhol.

The Ducal Palace of Medinaceli was declared a Spanish National Asset of Cultural Interest in 1979. Since 2005, the Palace has been home to Foundation DEARTE Contemporary who converted the space into a museum and centre of contemporary art. It is the most active art centre in the province of Soria, organising multiple art, historical, cultural and musical activities throughout the year. —  



Ho Chi Minh City installs solar-powered trash cans to boost waste classification



The People’s Committees of District 5 and District 11 in Ho Chi Minh City have joined forces with Green Resources Technology Company to place 200 solar-powered rubbish bins at key spots to encourage residents and tourists to sort garbage.

District 11 will install 84 solar-powered trash cans at sidewalks, the yards of state agencies, and schools.

These green rubbish bins are set to gradually replace the current public trash cans.

In the first quarter of 2019, the administration of District 5 piloted the installation of 21 hi-tech trash cans at 10 schools.

The district decided to expand this pilot program this year due to the positive results of the installation.

These bins have two compartments for organic waste and other rubbish.

Twenty-six solar-powered trash cans were placed at some parks and the headquarters of state agencies in the district in the first quarter of 2023.

In early June, the district will install 74 other hi-tech rubbish bins with three compartments for recyclable waste, food waste, and other garbage at administrative agencies, hospitals, schools, and bus stops and on sidewalks.

These trash bins consist of solar panels to activate advertisement signs and instructions that make it easier for people to throw trash into the right compartment.

Information about environmental protection also appears on the hi-tech bins.

The company will install these solar-powered trash cans free of charge in 10 years.

Many parts of Ho Chi Minh City such as Ben Nghe Ward and Pham Ngu Lao Ward in District 1 and Tan Thoi Hiep Ward in District 12 are facing difficulty sorting waste.

These districts are classifying waste into two kinds, including organic waste and others, while the government’s Decree 54 stipulates waste must be sorted into three types, including recyclable garbage, food leftovers, and other solid trash.

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Int’l Yoga Day to take place in 22 localities across Vietnam in late June



The Consulate General of India in Ho Chi Minh City will team up with the Vietnam Yoga Federation to roll out the 2023 International Yoga Day in 22 provinces and cities in Vietnam’s southern region at the end of June.

This edition will be the biggest ever since the yoga fest was first launched in the Southeast Asian nation in 2015, Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh City Madan Mohan Sethi told a press briefing on Tuesday.

The yoga event is part of a wide range of cultural exchange, tourism, trade, and investment promotion events to mark 50 years of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and India, said the consul general.

Speaking at the press conference, Sethi affirmed that Vietnam plays an important role in India’s Act East Policy, an effort by the Indian government to cultivate extensive economic and strategic relations with Southeast Asia.

India strongly believes in Vietnam’s support, he added.

“Both India and Vietnam see mutual respect and trust as the pivot of long-lasting relations between the two nations. We can make this partnership even stronger amid ongoing global uncertainties,” Sethi underlined.

Consul General of India to Ho Chi Minh City Madan Mohan Sethi and guests pose for a photo at the press briefing on May 30, 2023. Photo: The Consulate General of India

Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh City Madan Mohan Sethi (R, 5th) and guests pose for a photo at a press briefing on May 30, 2023. Photo: Consulate General of India

Culture exchange acts as a boost for Vietnam – India ties

The exchange of culture traits, especially related to Buddhism and yoga, plays a significant role in the two nations’ relations, Sethi said.

Over the past few months, the Consulate General of India has initiated a host of cultural exchange events in 11 cities and provinces in southern Vietnam.

Apart from the upcoming yoga festival, a delegation of cultural experts from Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta region will travel to India to deepen cultural cooperation in July.

Besides, the consulate general is planning to join hands with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Fine Arts and the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association to promote traditional cultural exchange.

Stronger partnership in various fields 

The Indian diplomat expressed his high expectations for tourism growth between the two countries.

With the popularity of e-visas, Sethi predicted that 500,000 Indian tourists would travel to Vietnam in 2023, a three-fold surge year on year.

The representative of India also eyes deeper cooperation in education and manpower training for the technology-information, international trade, and pharmacy sectors, which are India’s strengths. 

The two nations will accelerate student exchanges to widen their skills and knowledge, Sethi said. 

He also called on technology students and startups in Vietnam to connect with India partners in this field to enhance tech cooperation between the two countries.

The Consulate General of India in Ho Chi Minh City will host a conference to beef up collaboration with the Mekong Delta region on June 28, with the participation of nearly 100 Indian enterprises.

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Trans-Vietnam railway world’s most incredible rail trip: Lonely Planet



Lonely Planet, the world-renowned travel guide, recently named Vietnam’s North-South Railway, also known as the Reunification Express line, as the most incredible train journey in the world.

The railway was described as one of Southeast Asia’s best-loved railways and the world’s most epic overnight train journey.

It stretches for 1,730 kilometers between the country’s two biggest cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City over the course of two days.

Some railways rattle through historic cities; others swoosh beside spectacular coastlines. A few have an epic history, and one or two are remarkable for the colorful characters onboard. The Reunification Express line fulfills all these criteria, said Lonely Planet.

“There is no more atmospheric way to haul into Vietnam’s twin metropolises. And there’s no better way of exploring all the glories in between,” the site added.

Besides Vietnam’s North-South Railway, Lonely Planet’s list of the most incredible train journeys includes the California Zephyr in the U.S., Lake Titicaca Railway in Peru, Beijing to Lhasa Express in China, Caledonian Sleeper in the UK, Bergensbanen in Norway, TranzAlpine in New Zealand, and Tazara Railway in Tanzania and Zambia. 

Vietnam’s North-South Railway was also listed in the 10 best train journeys in the world by Lonely Planet in 2018.

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