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Young woman weaves brighter future




WONDER WEAVER: Phạm Thị Y Hòa is pictured in a Hrê traditional dress. Photo courtesy of Phạm Thị Y Hòa

By Lương Thu Hương

Like many Hrê ethnic youths in Teng Village in the central province of Quảng Ngãi, Phạm Thị Y Hòa is overwhelmed with pride when she wears the distinctive traditional brocade costume of her ethnic group.

The 31-year-old’s social media feeds are constantly updated with photos of the Teng handloom weaving craft, which has been recognised as a national intangible heritage since 2019.

Besides traditional products like clothing, scarves or shawls, Hòa has also woven contemporary goods like handbags, ties, áo dài (traditional Vietnamese long dress) and wedding dresses, helping more customers learn about the Hrê’s unique craft and inspiring locals to take part in preserving their ancient heritage.

“When I create a new product, I usually share it on my personal page to receive feedback and suggestions from friends and customers. It is also a way for me to improve my work and meet the market demand,” she said.

Hòa’s and other Teng villagers’ efforts to promote their ancient craft have paid off, even going beyond borders. At the EXPO 2020 in Dubai, UAE, two of their handloom fabric products were showcased in the VIP area, together with 13 representative products of 10 other ethnic minorities from Việt Nam.

Hrê brocade appeared in an impressive fashion show within the international exhibition. Five creations by renowned fashion designers Lý Quý Khánh and Chula were meticulously woven by Hòa’s talented hands, impressing many fashionistas attending.

MODERN TWIST: A creation by designer Lý Quý Khánh manually woven by Hòa. — Photo courtesy of Phạm Thị Y Hòa

“After receiving orders to create the handloom fabric for the designers, I was overjoyed and determined to carry out the task,” Hòa told Việt Nam News.

“It was my first opportunity to receive an order from renowned fashion designers and to showcase my works at such a big international event. I did my best so that my artisanal fabrics – the heritage of the Hrê people would be present at the expo.”

‘Unique beauty’

She said the designers requested that typical Hrê patterns account for half of the fabric used for their designs at the fair, which demanded extreme care. She can only weave around 20cm of fabric a day, so it took nearly two months to complete.

ALL SMILES: Hòa was taught to weave brocade at a young age. — Photo courtesy of Phạm Thị Y Hòa

Hòa has been able to weave since the age of 14. As a 9th grader, she earned pocket money from creating her first complete products and selling them to residents in Ba Tơ District where she lived.

Growing up, Hòa realised that the ancient weaving craft of her ethnic group, despite its unique beauty, was not widely known and losing interest from consumers, particularly the young people, due to its low price. She decided to return to her hometown in 2018, after studying away from home, to focus on commercialising Hrê traditional fabrics.

“I aimed to raise awareness about Hrê handloom fabric, and preserve the weaving craft as an indispensable cultural aspect of our lives and also as a source of income both for me and my community,” she said.

According to Hòa, the handloom fabrics of different ethnic groups often share vibrant and eye-catching colours, but the unique characteristic of Hrê fabric is undoubtedly the traditional colour palette, which consists of three main colours: white, red and black.

“However, Hrê fabric has incorporated a variety of colours these days. This is due to customers’ preferences and the influence of modern trends. Nevertheless, the dominant three colours are still preserved, and the weaving techniques remain unchanged,” she added.

ETHNIC ELEGANCE: Hòa is pictured in ‘áo dài’ (Vietnamese traditional long dress) crafted from Hrê fabric. — Photo courtesy of Phạm Thị Y Hòa

Initial struggles

At first, Hòa encountered many difficulties in the preservation of her ethnic group’s identity and cultural heritage.

“I had to re-explore everything about the craft, starting from the source of materials. The Hrê used to use cotton fibres, and now they have replaced them with synthetic fibres. I had to research and find the lowest possible price to reduce costs, the issue that most local weavers are concerned with,” she said.

“The next issue is finding the market, or more precisely, understanding the needs of customers within and outside my community. I have to understand what they like, what they need, and what is the most reasonable price to entice them.

“Finally, it is about teaching the skills so that the weavers can understand and become familiar with innovative products and have colours that are more suitable for current trends.”

Hòa is one of the first Teng villagers to promote their products on social media and e-commerce websites instead of passively waiting for customers. She has also actively introduced the craft at many trade fairs and conferences in Quảng Ngãi and beyond.

Thanks to Hòa’s keen mindset, the handloom fabric items woven by Teng villagers have gradually won much favour from customers.

UPDATED: Hòa has modernised and diversified products made from Hrê handloom fabric to attract more customers. — Photo courtesy of Phạm Thị Y Hòa

Hòa’s products have not only been sold in Quảng Ngãi but in many other provinces and cities throughout the country. Moreover, they have been selected by the Provincial People’s Committee as local souvenirs for distinguished guests, and travelled to many countries worldwide, including Switzerland, Italy, the UK and Germany.

Hòa is nurturing a plan to build a stilt house of her own where she will exhibit Hrê cultural heritage to all visitors to Teng Village. VNS







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Fashion model attends Mister Tourism World 2023



Fashion model and movie actor Nguyễn Quốc Trí of Đồng Tháp Province is representing Việt Nam at the Mister Tourism World 2023 in Brazil this week.  Photo courtesy of the organiser

HCM CITY — Fashion model and movie actor Nguyễn Quốc Trí is representing Việt Nam at the Mister Tourism World 2023 in Brazil this week. 

Trí stands at 1.80m, and 70kg in weight. Before being crowned as New Face of Television 2022 in HCM City, he worked as a flight attendant for Vietnam Airlines. 

He studied at the HCM City Open University. 

He works for Hồ Chí Minh Television and Voice of Hồ Chí Minh City. 

“I will introduce Việt Nam, its culture and lifestyle to the world through my performance at Mister Tourism World 2023,” said 28-year-old Trí, a resident of Đồng Tháp Province. 

For his performance, Trí will use traditional clothes by fashion designer Tuấn Hải. 

Mister Tourism World 2023 was first organised in 2016, one among three contests for men. The other two include Manhunt International and Mister International. 

Vietnamese representative Phạm Xuân Hiển was named the winner of the 2016 contest.

Last year, Phùng Phước Thịnh of HCM City won Mister Friendship and Best Talent at the pageant in the Philippines. 

Mister Tourism World 2023 will take place from November 29 to December 6 in Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. Competitors from 40 countries and territories will be competing. — VNS


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Take part in ‘Charity Christmas Village’ to spread the spirit of sharing



HÀ NỘI —A Christmas event in Hà Nội is being held to support primary schools in the northern province of Ninh Bình.

To spread the spirit of sharing for a better life, ‘Christmas Village 2023’ hosted by the JW Marriott Hanoi during December 2&3, will help purchase solar water purifiers for primary schools in Nho Quan District, Ninh Bình Province.

Aiming to bring a meaningful and warm Christmas season to all people who are in need, the organiser will donate part of the ticket proceeds to help orphaned and disadvantaged children and women in Việt Nam with AFV, ActionAid, HopeBox, and Blue Dragon. A silent auction will take place on Saturday and Sunday to raise funds to support the community.

The Christmas Village will recreate a festive holiday season with many Christmas-themed booths. — Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Hanoi

At the Christmas village, guests can stroll down through the bustling stalls showcasing a vast array of domestic and international brands with many holiday season products such as handicrafts, decorations, toys, fashion, beauty among others.

Exciting outdoor activities such as a bouncy castle, Santa’s playground, statue painting and live performances will also take place throughout the two days.

Festival-goers can also enjoy delicious delights such as pastries, German sausages, crispy chicken, or Japanese grilled skewers from Kumihimo restaurant.

Part of the proceeds will help orphaned and disadvantaged children and women in Việt Nam. — Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Hanoi

Families can go on a picnic in the relaxing space of JW Lakeside Gardens, or enjoy drinks at the Beer Garden.

On Saturday evening, guests can immerse themselves in the magical moment as the entire hotel is lit up in sparkling lights and Christmas music at the Lighting Ceremony with the special presence of 31 underprivileged children from the Hữu Nghị Đống Đa School, with Santa Claus scheduled to make an appearance.

The entrance fee is VNĐ150,000 for adults, and 100,000 for children above 1.1-1.4 metres tall. Free for children below 1.1 metres tall. — VNS


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Korean and Việt Nam museums co-organise art exhibition



A work by artist Yoon Nam-woong. 

HÀ NỘI — Artists from South Korean Gwangju Museum have displayed their paintings at Việt Nam National Fine Arts Museum (VNFAM) for the first time. 

The exhibition entitled The Melody of Korean Art features seven artists including Lee Hyung-woo, Yoon Nam-woong, Lee In-sung, Kim Sung-nam, Pyo In-bu, Kim Byoung-taeg and Kim Chang-duk.

“The exhibition is a good chance for Vietnamese fine arts lovers to get to know Korean fine arts and have a chance to enjoy paintings by Korean artists in Hà Nội,” said Nguyễn Đức Kiên, deputy-director of VNFAM. “I believe that it will promote co-operation between the two museums in future to strengthen bilateral relationship between the two countries.”

Made in a wide range of materials including oil, lacquer, silk, ceramic and Korean traditional hanji paper, the works portray the beauty of Korean country, people and joy. 

Arist Lee Hyung-woo uses diverse colours to depict the daily life of Koreans. With generous brushstrokes and metaphorical and witty situations, the artist brings laughter to viewers. 

Yoon Nam-woong expresses human emotions through his honest and humorous works. He evokes joy and love of life by capturing life’s milestones with a humorous perspective, artistic freedom and idyllic rural images.

Lee In-sung’s paintings reflect images of human life. The artist recounts stories that could happen to anyone and emphasises its meaning through metaphorical expressions.

Visitors viewing works at the exhibition. 

Kim Sung-nam captures and expresses nature full of raw energy, rather than the familiar, peaceful and beautiful natural landscape from the usual human perspective.

Artist Pyo In-bu creates his works with hanji paper. His painting series entitled Memories of the Wind is a reflection of memories in life. 

Kim Chang-duk uses natural materials such as quartz, stone powder and natural colours to create unique ceramic paintings. The works deeply express the spirit and customs of Korea.

Artist Kim Byoung-taeg is the one who repeatedly uses red or blue for images of water, sea and mountains, which are considered the source of life. For him, nature carries many important symbols conveying messages of hope and healing in life.

Gwangju museum is a renowned cultural hub with a deep-rooted tradition of art. Since its opening in 1992, Gwangju Museum of Art has been a part of modern art history in Korea and gained ground as a cultural zone.

Gwangju museum director Gim Jun-gi speaks at the opening ceremony at Việt Nam Fine Arts Museum. VNS photos Nguyễn Bình

Gwangju museum plays an important role in connecting museums and artists around the world, organising exhibitions in many countries like China, Japan, Britain, Germany and the US,  according to the museum director Gim Jun-gi.

“The selected works displayed in Việt Nam contain the landscape of Korea and cheerful emotions of the people,” said Gim. “I want to popularise Korean art to the Vietnamese audience and I expect to have art exchanges between artists of the two countries.”

The exhibition runs until November 30 at 66 Nguyễn Thái Học Street. — VNS


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