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Profile

Born in: 1960, Hanoi
Graduated 1993 at Hanoi Fine Art University
Presently: Member of the Vietnam Fine Art Association
Exhibited Painting in Vietnam and abroad.
Group Exhibition at the Hotel Sofitel in Hanoi in 1999.
Group Exhibition in Luxamburg in 2002.
Group Exhibition in Singapore in 2003
Group Exhibition in Hong Kong in 2003

Thanh Tam, mother of two young children gave up her artistic endeavors to take care of her family.
She is back in the forefront of Vietnam's art world with new works in paper and lacquer, and the result is astonishing in terms of technical mastery and aesthetic depth.
Tam paints only the Vietnamese village, its countryside, figures and traditions. Her techniques are simple and basic, with colors high and flat on plain backgrounds. Her deep black contour lines draw shapes and figures with a great presence. Everything comes down to the brush stroke, and its dynamic balance, following caster painting tradition. Her decorative tendencies are toned down by her choice of themes: interior scenes, processions and dances.
Thanh Tam, like many talented Hanoi artists, finds her main inspiration in the people and traditions of the Song Hong (Red River) Delta. Even her modern techniques have roots in the old engraving and wood sculpture, and in using the she succeed in showing us the heart of this very Vietnamese kind of beauty.

The village voices
If you thought the Vietnam Investment Review Friday Review was all about downing beers and munching, snacks whilst schmoozing with the powerbrokers of our time then think again-the next ones in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have art involved.
Down south the Hotel Sofitel Plaza Saigon will present more than 40 pieces from Cau Vong Studio from October 28 to November 3 in an exhibition entitled 'The Colors of Vietnam. All the pieces represent the country's rural life and its colorful landscapes.
The Friday October 29 Review at the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi will give these in attendance an sneak peek at the hotel's latest art exhibition by painters Thanh Tam and Nghia Cuong.
Thanh Tam had given up painting to raise her two young children but this exhibition marks her return to the art world. Her new works on both paper and in lacquer focus on the Vietnamese village - it's landscapes, figures and traditions. Tam takes most of her inspiration from the peoples of the Red River Delta and their folkways and customs. The voices of these people seem to come alive in her works as they find a harmonious balance with their surroundings. Tam's style is somewhat of a modern twist on the patterns of traditional woodcutting though which she brings out the full beauty of the Vietnamese village.

Art as Zen Gate
Some day, exhausted by the breakneck, whirling rhythm and head aching scheming and competing amid the dusty, polluted city's life, you would acutely thirst for some tranquil rural region where you might enjoy seeing again those snow-white storks celebrated in folk ballads, the romantic moon and maybe even the shepherds' pipes and the sudden storm as in Beethoven's 6th Symphony' And very probably, you'd feel like being blissfully showered upon by the stream of childhood memories if you do have a sweet childhood in the countryside.
Such as my feelings when seeing Ta Thi Thanh Tam's paintings. Simple subjects: children riding buffaloes in the fields, playing marbles, flying kites, preparing mock feasts on banana leaves, lads and lasses dating under the moonlight, village pagodas with Buddhist bonzes and nuns, old men playing chess' I call them visual pastoral songs. This uncouth yet enchanting charm stems not only from the rustic motifs amorously rendered with a sober, almost minimalistic style in a biography-dimensioned space, but primarily from the woman artist's crystal pure soul which has given her enough stamina to overcome distressing adversities in life. Handicapped by poliomyelitis since her early years, Thanh Tam had for a long time entertained the intention to enter priesthood and would have done so had not a great friend of her father, painter Dinh Minh discovered the hidden painting gift in the crippled girl. Is this the reason for which pagodas and Buddhist bonzes later became one of her favorite subjects? Anyway, painting has become her moral haven. 'Strangely enough,' says Thanh Tam, 'I am really grateful to my insomnia because every sleepless night infallibly brings me a new creative idea.'
Art has given Ta Thi Thanh Tam peace of mind, her spiritual goal. And in her turn, by the spiritual light underlying her works, she communicates it to the viewers.
In other words, to Thanh Tam, art is a kind of Zen Gate.