Saigon Artbook comes back on large scale

Saigon Artbook, a non-profit organization that brings local and foreign artists together to promote contemporary art being made in HCMC, will mark its return with the 6th book featuring five artists from Vietnam, Canada and Sri Lanka.

Saigon Artbook (SGAB) and The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre based in District 2 will co-organize an exhibition from now until September 29 to introduce artworks by origami artist Nguyen Ngoc Vu, photographer Bao Zoan, painter Nguyen Duc Diem Quynh, printmaker Nathan Larson, and installation work artist Kumkum Fernando.

Dao Minh Vu, general manager of Ultimate Futuristic Organization (UFO), a non-profit art organization that initiated the SGAB in 2013, told the Daily that from hundreds of candidates, organizers had chosen these five artists whose creations were curated by Shyevin S’ng of Vin Gallery. 

The exhibition features an eclectic range of installation, photography, origami, painting, and print works. Their collections are directly or indirectly related to Saigon.

With an aim of bringing art to life, SGAB hopes to connect people of Saigon with the art being made around them, inspire and remind those living here of their role as both viewers and actors in the everyday performance of life in HCMC. 

The experience of living in Saigon is one that we all have in common. Saigon is ours and there is something here for everyone.

Nathan Larson’s prints draw directly from the infamous traffic, whilst Kumkum’s and Quynh’s works incorporate materials found around the city. 

Alternatively, both Bao and Vu use their works as a lens, literal and metaphorical respectively, to document societal and cultural histories relevant not only in Saigon but throughout Vietnam.

Born in 1991 in central Vietnam, self-taught origami artist Nguyen Ngoc Vu studied design in Malaysia before moving to Saigon in 2015. 

Vu’s works have been exhibited and published internationally. At SGAB 6, his collection reconstructs many faces of tuong, an ancient Vietnamese theatre dance, in an act to preserve the classical performance art by engaging younger audiences.

Bao Zoan’s collection themed Noi Day La Nha (this is home) records a decaying structural aesthetic and fading way of life in a city striving for modernity. 

Bao was born in 1990 in Bien Hoa City in the southwestern province of Dong Nai. 

After moving to Saigon in 2009, he worked as a mechanical engineer for two years before becoming a freelance photographer.

Saigonese artist Nguyen Duc Diem Quynh, 28, also known as Quynh Lam, studied fine art at the HCMC Fine Arts Association and later architecture at the HCMC University of Architecture. Her latest collection “The Birth” was inspired from her uncle’s career as an obstetrician. It features an exploration of pregnancy, labor and birth through a scientific and creative lens. 

Nathan Larson’s works are divergent, experimenting with standard printing techniques in unconventional ways.

Entitled Small Favors, his collection is a study into Saigon’s infamous traffic congestion. Larson, a Canadian-born artist, moved to Saigon from South Korea in 2011. The 39-year-old went on to study at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

As an explorer and collector of things, Kumkum’s installation works can be seen as a celebration of life and discovery. His practice of collecting objects, small and large, has developed from childhood and his works are rich with his own personal history. Kumkum Fernando (b. 1985) originally from Colombo, Sri Lanka, Kumkum has been living in Saigon since 2010.

The exhibition will run until September 29 at The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, a newly-established creative hub covering over 1,000 square meters, incorporating exhibition space, art library, workshop, co-working space, organic concept restaurant and bar lounge at 15 Nguyen U Di Street, District 2, HCMC.

Tickets to the launching ceremony are priced at VND150,000 per person, inclusive of entrance fee and a drink. 

Those who buy tickets for VND730,000 per person will get a free drink and the 6th edition of Saigon Artbook. Those who come to the rest of the days of the exhibition until September 29 will enjoy free admission. 

A book is priced at VND730,000. More information can be found at or via Facebook page of Saigon Artbook.


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