A 46 hour journey from La Consulta to Hanoi was a little exhausting due to a great many hours waiting in four airports and the necessary chore of being processed to move from A to B safely across borders and skies. We finally arrived in the capital of Vietnam where motorbikes rule under a communist red flag that is not shy of business as long as the Party stays happy and in charge. It's a country on the move with 100 million people, rapid change alongside large corruption and huge environmental problems that are shocking but possibly these people have the tools to make things work given their tough resilience. One hopes so.
We strolled Hanoi and looked at many average art galleries knowing very well that there are some fantastic artists working all over Vietnam. Our immediate mission was to catch up on sleep and wait for our body clocks to get in tune with our bodies and brains. After four days in the capital we jumped on a relaxing day train trip to Hue. The city where the twin brothers Le Ngoc Thanh and Le Duc Hai have set up an art residency program. (www.newspacearts.com) The brothers are very active across Hue, across Vietnam and also exhibit overseas. Their energy is enormous and their residency program is flexible enough to suit many artists. It certainly shall suit us for the two months we are here.
The house where resident artists stay includes a lovely pond with barking frogs, a rich tropical garden, outside kitchen and plenty of space to create. Deafening cicadas on heat compete with the neighbors workshop noise and sticky sweet Viet-Pop music but things are nice and quiet most evenings as the house is located in a residential zone two kilometers from the Perfume river and the center of town.
Carolina and I begin to work here on our separate projects. I sew and work with the help of local embroiders while Carolina lugs a few strange cameras about the town. We both sweat many buckets of perspiration each day as the 38 C and 80% humidity is a bit of a shock to bodies that were up the cool and dry Andean foothills not so long ago. I drink as much delicious local iced coffee as I can and devour dragon fruit, sapodilla, rambutans and pawpaw each morning. I am in a fruit paradise.
An artists talk was presented at the “DMZ Art space” on Saturday 28th May followed by dinner and a fair amount of Saki. The talk was mostly attended by local art students who were hopefully amused by my Antarctic films which I did screen to cool things down but also to show something extremely exotic to the young artists. The next month I keep busy sewing and perhaps some other yet to be discovered project.