Bowlful of Greatjoy @ Dong Phong
It’s that time of the lunar year when the household deities Pham Lang, Trong Cao and Thi Nhi leave their duties in everyones house and surrounds and for a few days travel up to the kingdom of The Jade King to report about the people in their various households and pray for their prosperity in the new year.
The deities are still very old fahioned about transport in this technological age and take their journey to the kingdom on the back of golden carp. Their various households are anxious for their coming prosperity so soon after they burn effigies of the deities and the smoke rises to the heavens full of prayers and thankyous, they release a golden carp into a waterway in case their particular little gods can’t find a wild one swimming past.
Most dedicated households buy one large carp or three smaller ones and keep them in a basin of water until it is time to set them free in ponds or rivers or lakes.
Those who are really dedicted and sincere know that the custom of releasing the fish is associated with acquiring the merit and good luck that is bestowed when you give caged animals, such as birds, their freedom.
Some of you might be like me who wonders about a burgeoning population each year releasing enormous quantities of fish into rivers and lakes and probably upsetting whatever natural balance remains.
Some, like me, might ponder what the Jade King thinks about all this despoiling and whether he takes golden point away from those hopeful subjects who go about chucking those golden fish into hopelessly polluted ponds and streams, or drop them from high bridges so that they die of concussion as soon as they hit the water (or more stupidly still, drop the wriggling creatures still swimming in tied up bags into rivers).
If I were the Jade King I’d give out golden points to those subjects who rather than releasing a fish, went along to see Ly Hung Anh’s painted representations of those carrier fish (mostly golden) and bathed in the joy they’d experience gazing around his delightful exhibition
His receptacles of fish are indeed joyful and apart from being representational of Tet type practices and have great meaning as each year draws to a close and a new one starts with a bang and boiled chicken and lucky red envelopes and banh chung and tipples of rice wine and the descent of the household deities back to their households, they’d be joyful on walls all year round (you’ll be amazed at how inexpensive they are!)
Some viewers will really like the textured backgrounds of the paintings and some of you will know that this very talented, self taught artist usually only paints in black and white… about which he said to his friend Ha Manh Thang before an exhibition of his work in Singapore 2011… for me, black and white are colorful… they contain many colors.
Here are a selection of some of Ly Hung Anh’s exceptional and atmospheric black and white landscapes and interiors from a previous exhibition at Dong Phong
And also a couple of colored pieces from a group show. These were snapped up.
FOR A PEACEFUL AND JOYFUL TET EXPERIENCE I THOROUGHLY RECOMMEND A TRIP TO WELCOMING DONG PHONG AND A STAY AWHILE WITH THOSE EXTRA SPECIAL FISH. It’s up until the end of solar February.