Images of Saigon via paintings on cardboards
Jenna Duong 21:58, 2021/10/06
Ho Chi Minh City-based painter Nguyen Viet Cuong has recorded the activities of frontline forces and Saigonese during the social distancing period.

Being himself a Covid-19 patient who is under self-treatment at home, painter Nguyen Viet Cuong has expressed his feelings and thoughts through a panting project entitled “Saigon Box”. The impressive and colorful artworks were painted on discarded cardboards.

  1. Painter Nguyen Viet Cuong and one of his artworks on cardboard named “The Doctor”. Photo courtesy of the painter. 

According to Cuong, drawing while being a Covid-19 patient not only helps him to cope with the pandemic but also awakens his potential energies. “Social distancing period gives me an opportunity to spend all my time on painting. When focused on drawing, I deeply felt the preciousness of every moment in the present,” he said.

Cuong used his personal perspective and drew the image of Saigon during these pandemic days on cardboard. Being restricted from going outside gave him time to turn inward, observe, and self-reflect. This reflection has helped him light up his creative energy.

Currently, half of Cuong’s artworks in the “Saigon Box” project have been bought by collectors.

The artist said that he will organize a small exhibition soon after the end of the pandemic to show audiences his unique artwork collection that depicting the harsh days of Saigon in the Covid-19 pandemic and how the people here overcome it.

Viet Cuong uses many different materials for his paintings themed on people and society. A painting called “Respecting” by the artist.
The painting is called “Freedom”. The painter was inspired by the image of saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan who performed outside a Covid-19 makeshift hospital in HCMC several months ago. 
  1. In the artwork titled “Volunteers”, Cuong depicts the scene of volunteers being sprayed with disinfectant, preparing for entering a Covid-19 infection zone at Linh Trung Ward, Thu Duc District, HCMC. 
  1. The love among Saigonese is expressing through the painting called “Receiving Charity Food”.
  1. According to Cuong, the folds of the discarded cardboard give the souls to his artworks. The work is called “Lonely”
  1. The “Formula and Vaccine”. The painting shows the image of batches of the Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US arriving in HCMC. “I made the painting on a formula milk cardboard that the US exports specifically for the Vietnamese market,” he said.
The artwork entitled “Give and Take” is drawn on a box of instant noodles with a funky background.
The work “Morning House”
The work “Car Rides”
  1.  “Food-Love-Education” artwork is the image of a boy who received charity food and books. 
The work “Happiness”
The work "The Real Heroine" 
  1. depicts the resting moment of a female frontline medical worker in HCMC.
The “Repatriation” painting shows a young boy is sleeping on a cardboard box made by a high-end baby diaper company. He and his family were leaving Saigon for their hometown.  
  1. The work “Let’s go”. The name of the game “Lego” is an abbreviation of the first two letters of the two words “leg” and “godt”, which means “play well”. Cuong rewrote it to “LET’S GO” on the cardboard to remind the frontline forces that “Just think that the fight against the pandemic is a hard game. Let’s stand up, fight and conquer it together!”
The worl "Rights and Ethics" is the latest artwork in the 'Saigon Box' painting collection by Nguyen Viet Cuong.
TAG: painting Nguyen Viet Cuong Vietnamese painter social distancing Covid-19 Vietnam; Saigon lockdown Covid-19; paintings of covid-19; Vietnam Covid-1
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