11-year-old Tay ethnic artist shows exceptional style

Huynh Nhat Quang is a Tay ethnic artist who has received the grand prize of the fourth De Men (Cricket) Children Award in May this year.


PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST: Eleven-year-old artist Huỳnh Nhật Quang at his first fund-raising exhibition in HCM City in June. – VNS Photo Gia Linh

June 20, 2023

HANOI – Quang has recently had his first art exhibition, Hidden Souls, held by the Thể Thao & Văn Hóa (Sports & Culture) newspaper in HCM City, where his paintings are being sold to raise funds for renovating and building new schools in underprivileged areas.

Quang’s art journey began when he was just a 4-year-old.

“Since my dad Hoàng Văn Điểm is an artist, I used to hang out a lot in his work space, where my curiosity towards art gradually grew as I was exposed to art supplies and paintings,” Quang said.

Refusing to follow his farther’s art style, Quang created his own colour and style, and gradually made his own paintings, from smaller to bigger ones. Without sketching beforehand, he draws whenever an idea springs to mind.

When Quang was about nine, he started experimenting with acrylic paints and working on bigger paintings, which had more of a balance in terms of colours.

Looking at his paintings is like stepping into a fairyland, since they look so complex, with contrasts between cool and warm tones.

Mentioning his source of inspiration, Quang said that his father was the one whom he has always looked up to since the beginning of his art journey.

“I am also inspired by renowned artists in the world, like Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and many others,” said the young artist.

Besides this, Quang strongly promotes his Tày ethnic identity through details of cultural value in his paintings.

From Quang’s perspective, everything in his world has a spirit. Some may be noticeable, some may be harder to see, and it is this idea that brings the meaning to the name of his exhibition.

At first, the young boy’s paintings seem to do nothing more than represent his imaginary world, but on closer observation, it is clear that they carry much more profound messages. There is a hidden complexity to them, that is not easy to parse.

“My art is a leverage for me to raise my voice on environmental problems. I hope that I can raise awareness of animal protection and conservation of natural habitats,” he said.

BIG IMPRESSION: “Nối những vòng tay” (Great Circle), one of Huỳnh Nhật Quang’s famous artworks, was the biggest painting in the exhibition. – VNS Photo Gia Linh

Within the two first days of the exhibition, Quang was able to sell all of his paintings, achieving his first big milestone on his journey.

“Receiving compliments from people saying that they can see my characteristics and my messages through every work, makes me feel extremely happy and grateful,” he said.

TRANSFORMATIVE: “Xứ sở của những thiên thần” (Angels’ Land), priced at VNĐ25 million, was one of those sold in the exhibition to raise funds for building schools in remote areas. – VNS Photo Gia Linh
Throughout the exhibition, Quang humbly expressed his gratitude towards his parents’ encouragement and support from institutions.

One might not expect a primary student like Quang, when being asked about his future plans and goals, to set such ambitious plans. But Quang, it seems, is cut from a different cloth.

“In the near future, I am eager to experiment with larger paintings so that I can challenge myself more. I want to experience different art materials and draw more complex themes. This will be a great way for me to practise my skills and broaden my horizons about not only art but the world around me,” he said.

While maintaining his own art style, Quang hopes to try his best to achieve more awards and recognition to be able to participate in international art competitions. With that, he will be able to widely spread the messages behind his artworks, especially to children around the world. VNS

scroll to top