The Artist With The Everyday Life Painting

To the artistic life, each of us has a private way according to ourselves. So does artist- painter Ngo Minh Cau ! He was born and brought up in the war time when ourcountry was tumultuous with the antifrench colonialist revolutionary campaign to gain the independence for our country. When being eighteen years old, he was a son of Ha Noi who entered the self defense youth team against French aggressors. At the end of December, 1946 when the government of DRV left Ha Noi to build the long-term base, he was back to Hung Yen and participated in the group of Propaganda and Volunteer. To be innate in drawing, he made slogans and paintings for propaganda, publishing the line of the Party, encouraging people enter the Vietminh Campaign and against French colonialism.

In 1949, French army conquered Hung Yen. So the secret group moved to Ha Nam. At that time, the school of fine art was enrolling students. The young man Ngo Minh Cau was happy very much. A prospect of becoming an artist-painter had been coming. He was in a hurry to come to Viet Bac for an examination. The first course was opened in 1949. And Mr.To Ngoc Van, himself, taught this class. So the dream had come true. Side by side with 20 classmates, Mr.Ngo Minh Cau studied hard until the Dien Bien Phu campaign broke out. To be by nature a diligent and hard working student, he went paiting everywhere, including hamlets, villages, the ethnic regions such as the North West region, the Viet Bac area. He made many drawings. They are heavy luggage which are used as experience for his artistic works.

In a holiday at the end of the school-year, Mr To Ngoc Van said:" Each student has his own style. It is his artistic characteristics that he can use in his paintings." About Mr. Ngo Minh Cau, Mr. To NGoc Van said:" Mr. Ngo Minh Cau has a strange vision, a special style. He is different from others. He has a simple vision, marking shapes clearly and filling them plainly." Mr. Ngo Minh Cau said that the comment of Mr. To Ngoc Van about him was completely correct. And we see that his artistic characterictics have something similar to Dong Ho folk paintings and the living of Vietnamese people.

Many people, to the end of their life, do not affirm their style, their character and do not know how to develop them. How happy is artist-painter Ngo Minh Cau! He studies carefully the teachings of Mr. To Ngoc Van. These teachings became something deeply understood and the guideline for his development in drawing.

For more then 50 years, the paintings of Mr. Ngo Minh Cau, still remind us of the simple and truthful style of Dong Ho folk paintings. They become the soul and the mind of Vietnamese people from the activities of persons in the villages of the community to the landscapes of our native village. He used lacquer as a traditional material, suitable for his style, his manner and his sentiment.

Artist-painter Ngo Minh Cau was born in Ha Noi. And the time he lived in cities longer than the time he lived in the countryside in war time. But the most successful paintings are those about the people of the mountains and the people of the countryside such as:" Announce the victory "," The girls of Dien Bien Phu today"," A Winter morning"," The sunset in the hamlet"," The Summer noon at Cam Da"," The motherhood"," Black Thai girl"," Plough collectively"," Carry rice back to the village"....

Maybe when he was young , he traveled a lot , he lived a life of national resistance. So the images of the hamlets, the ethnic young girls, the Early Liberation days... engrave deeply in his mind.

In peace, he worked many tasks, from training, teaching to publishing works. Nowadays, he is 80 year old. He still likes to paint and cherishes the subjects about the national resistance on the high lands of our country for all his life.

By TRANG PHUONG  - PhD and Artist Painter