The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Vietnam’s tagger’s delight: Ho Chi Minh City turns into a canvas for local graffiti artists

VIETNAM: Shrouded by fumes and surrounded by spray cans, Vietnamese graffiti artist Kong conjures his latest masterpiece, a monkey clutching an aerosol, a colour-splashed act of rebellion in a communist country where the youth are expected to follow strict social mores.

culture, construction, military, property,


AFP

Sunday 11 June 2017, 10:00AM


Dan Nguyen, a California-born Vietnamese artist who moved to Ho Chi Minh City about five years ago, works on his graffiti at
Dan Nguyen, a California-born Vietnamese artist who moved to Ho Chi Minh City about five years ago, works on his graffiti at "3A Station", a graffiti hub and street art area in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP

“Young people want to break the rules,” said the 21-year-old, his fingers speckled with paint.

“We want to see more interesting things on the street or on the wall, so we do graffiti to express ourselves.”

Kong belongs to the growing ranks of graffiti artists in Ho Chi Minh City, where subcultures – BMX biking, skateboarding and breakdancing – jostle for space on the hipster scene.

For many the spray can is a tool of rebellion – illicit spray-painting is a way of defying restrictions in an authoritarian country where artists must have their work approved before exhibitions, shows are routinely shut down, and works deemed controversial are replaced by a black 'X' on gallery walls.

But Kong knows better than to dabble in politics, opting instead to paint playful images less likely to incur the wrath of censors in the authoritarian nation.

Yet many artists like him believe there is something almost political in the very act of spraying a wall – and rejecting parents’ expectations to find a stable job.

Kong fell into graffiti as a teenager, bored with online gaming and looking for a creative outlet.

But his parents didn’t approve, hoping instead he might find a steady office job.

“They still don’t like it... they think it’s a dangerous game and it’s bad for my health because of the spray paint,” he said with a chuckle.

Ho Chi Minh City is now a graffiti hotspot, thanks to pioneering artists – both local and foreign – eager to fill blank wall space.

“It has become a part of Saigon, you can’t imagine Saigon without graffiti,” said independent curator Nguyen Nhu Huy, using the city’s former French colonial name.

Today, the city has several hubs for graffiti and street art, such as ‘3A Station’, a collection of colonial buildings that were reportedly occupied by the CIA during the Vietnam War.

The walls are bursting with colour and plastered with art – including Kong’s wide-eyed primate and a massive rooster wearing sunglasses – luring tourists taking Instagram-worthy selfies.

C and C Marine

Though not technically allowed, police tend to turn a blind eye.

And residents have come to love the free art for the most part, said Danny Daos, a local graffiti artist.

“The government doesn’t like us... They (used to say) that we make the walls dirty, but the people like us so we do our graffiti,” he said.

Yet even some seemingly tame images have been subject to vandalism.

One mural promoting environmental safety was defaced in the central city of Danang, though the artist doesn’t know who took issue with it.

Acts like these may deepen the reluctance of some young artists to take on controversial topics.

“In school they’ve been taught how to think and what to think, so I think there’s some ingrained censorship for sure,” said Dan Nguyen, a California-born Vietnamese artist and DJ who moved to Ho Chi Minh City about five years ago.

But perhaps the biggest threat to the artwork today is a construction boom, which some public pieces have already fallen victim to.

“Now the city is growing up, development with a lot of building, a lot of security, so it’s really hard for us to paint masterpieces,” said Daos.

Hemmed in by towering high-rises on all sides, the colonial properties home to ‘3A Station’ have been sold to developers hungry to get their hands on the valuable downtown land.

Occupants have been told it will be demolished within weeks.

Though heartbroken, 3A’s coordinator Mai Do believes Ho Chi Minh's graffiti culture will grow, even after her space is gone, as artists are finding new spots showcase their work.

She added: “That’s a good way for them to survive.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Phuket environment chief warns of poor hazardous waste disposal habits

Phuket/Thailand cannot manage it's regular waste, let alone identifying, collecting, separating and properly disposing of hazardous wastes. I wou...(Read More)


Phuket Governor says Japanese tourist bitten by barracuda not a shark

Oh brother...more stellar non-professional commentary from Phuket officials. I love the "police-type" hypothesis Mr Thatsaphol came up with....(Read More)


Phuket ‘bite’ frenzy spurs call for more protection against shark fishing

There is no enforcement for the protection of any marine life in Thai waters, it's a free for all unless you're a Korean tourist feeding bread...(Read More)


Phuket ‘bite’ frenzy spurs call for more protection against shark fishing

As a world wide diving scuba diver I can say by own experience that sharks always shy away when you 'meet' them. 'Incidents' with sha...(Read More)


City to reward people who dob in street offenders

It doesn't need to be a 'typical idiot' ( Jor12 words) to want to see police on every street corner. I often see police officers ( always...(Read More)


City to reward people who dob in street offenders

Jor 12, i guess you think lawlessness is a good idea then? Eagle, don't think it doesn't do you any good, you have no idea what i earn! 3 d...(Read More)


Phuket environment chief warns of poor hazardous waste disposal habits

Christy Sweet: You are right. It are all statements and dead end policy announcement, to justify a job, and a photo article in newspaper. Any given...(Read More)


City to reward people who dob in street offenders

malczx7r,as you are so eager to adopt it for Phuket,one might think you need it to increase your income !...(Read More)


Governor bans unsafe tour buses from Phuket, orders speed cameras for Patong Hill safety

Rorii2,I'm not surprised that you failed to understand.It was only an advice!...(Read More)


Governor bans unsafe tour buses from Phuket, orders speed cameras for Patong Hill safety

Eagle, historical facts make predicting the future easier, we all know not all predictions eventuate, but many in Thailand do, I fail to understand yo...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.