Hanoi Mural - views of nowadays and the future

Historically, the Red River dike has held a special significance for the city of Hanoi. In 1010, King Ly Thai To of Dai Viet (or “Great Viet” the name of Vietnam at the time) decided to move the capital from Hoa Lu (his homeland, 100 km South of Hanoi) to the North. When his boat landed at Nhi Ha River (former name of the Red River), the king saw a large dragon-shaped cloud rising from the water. The king relied on that good omen and decided to settle the new capital in the place that he named Thanh Long or Ascending Dragon...

Map of the Red River's dike in Hanoi. The red line is the proposed project:

Bản đồ khu vực dự kiến triển khai Con đường gốm sứ

The dike, believed to be 900 year old in 2008, always protects the town from floods and is a true witness to Hanoi’s history and development. A part of the dyke, which is running along the urban streets of Hanoi, has been concreted in 1990.

Some parts of the Red River's dike prior the project, March - April 2007:

Along Tran Quang Khai Street - Mar 2007

Đoạn chạy qua phố Trần Quang Khải

Preview of the Hanoi Mural by Photoshop:

Model of the Hanoi Mural:

A part of Hanoi Mural (done in February 2008):

Hanoi Mural - Feb 2008

New Hanoi Arts - The project holder

New Hanoi Arts is legal nonprofit organisation has just established on March 2007 to implement the Hanoi Ceramic Mural Project, which received official permission from Hanoi People Committee on 23rd October 2007. New Hanoi Arts bring together the visual artists, sculptors, ceramists, artisans, designers, architects, journalists, community development organizer, community volunteers who are enthusiastic in beautifying the city by Public Arts...

Who are we ?

Here are some key conductors of the project:

1) Mr Nguyen Huy Cuong - Project manager/Director of New Hanoi Arts Co.Ltd.

10 years experienced in tourism; 6 years worked as a journalist specified on environment and sustainable issues of some newspapers such as Vietnam Tourism Review Magazine, Hanoi's Economy and Urban Newspaper and Natural Resources and Environment Newspaper; almost 2 years experienced as a public awareness adviser for the project "Strengthening Environmental Management & Land Administration" of the Vietnam's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

2) Ms Nguyen Thu Thuy - project founder/Vice Director of the NHA.

14 year journalist of cultural issues at the Vietnam's Fine-Arts Magazine, then the Hanoimoi daily Newspaper. As the same time Ms Thuy is a visual art artist, and the art-critical writer -member of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association.

3) Ms Nguyen Thuy Van - Vice Director of the NHA.

12 year financial journalist at the Nhan Dan Daily Newspaper.

4) Mr Nguyen The Nam - Accountant in Chief.

8 years experienced in the position of accountant in different companies and organizations.

5) Mr Bui Viet Doan - the Sculptor: working as the project's Supervising artist

6) Mr Ha Huy Hiep - the painter: working as the project's Supervising artist

New Hanoi Arts

Address: 43 Lane 5 - F361 - An Duong Street, Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: (84)4- 2212.9600

Fax: (84)4- 3719.6467

Email: hanoimural@gmail.com; hanoimural@fpt.vn

History of the Hanoi Mural

Nguyen Thu Thuy, a journalist of the HanoiMoi Newspaper and is also a member of the Vietnam Fine-Arts Association. She has participated in the creation and exhibition together with the Hanoi Young Visual Artists Club.Writing on culture and arts, Nguyen Thu Thuy felt in love with the art of ceramics of Vietnam...

The idea founder of the Hanoi Mural, Ms Nguyen Thu Thuy, or addressed commonly in Vietnam as "Ms Thuy", was born in Hanoi. She is a journalist of culture and arts, of the Hanoimoi Newspaper and is also a member of the Vietnam Fine-Arts Association. She has participated in the creation and exhibition together with the Hanoi Young Visual Artists Club.

Ms Thuy has been visiting many famous artistic sites in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Greece, Denmark etc. Thuy recognised the strong development of the public art in those countries and dreams she can do something similar for her beloved Hanoi city.

On the other hand, as Thuy is specific on writing about fine arts, she found that Vietnam has a long history of ceramic producing and mosaic has been used in decorating many temples or pagodas, but not yet the outdoor constructions.

The idea comes to Thuy when everyday she has to go working passed by the ugly, grey concrete dike. She thought: "Why don't we use ceramic material to decorate this wall?" Then, breaking some ceramic pots and bowls, Thuy strated the idea with a pilot picture of mosaic and "install" it into the dike by Photoshop software:

The idea was immediately enthusiastically received and much appreciated by the public and the press. At "Hanoi Embellishment Exhibition", which was held by the Architectural Research Institute and the Architectural Journal in Hanoi in April 2007, it even got the award "The most feasibility idea".

With approve from Hanoi's People Committee (HPC - e.g. the Municipal Council), the proposal idea has been improved as Project named "Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural – A gift for Hanoi's 1000 year Anniversary", or in shorter name as "Hanoi Mural". HPC also assigned Ms Nguyen Thu Thuy and her partners in New Hanoi Arts to reliase the idea. The fund for the project is raised by social contributions, meaning "to create a common gift for the 1000th Anniversary of Thanglong – Hanoi (1010 – 2010)". With this decision, Hanoi is advanced in compare to other cities in promoting public art, which is inexistent so far in Vietnam.

In order to realise the idea, Ms Thuy recruited talented artists in a non-profit organisation named New Hanoi Arts, which she established to develop and promote public arts in Hanoi.


- IN MARCH 2007, Thuy proposed the Public Art Project: Hanoi Ceramic Mural - A Gift for Hanoi's 1000 year Anniversary (1010-2010) to Hanoi People's Committee. On March 14th 2007, she presented her Photoshop images outlining the Hanoi Mosaic Mural Project at the "Hanoi Embellishment Exhibition" held by the Architectural Research Institute and the Architectural Journal. The project idea was received enthusiastically and strongly supported by the public and the press. In order to realize the idea,Thuy involved talented artists who are enthusiastic in beautifying the city in a group named New Hanoi Arts Group.

- IN MAY OF 2007, the New Hanoi Arts Group invited to Bat Trang ceramic village a ceramic artist from the US, adjunct professor of art Joel Bennett of Santa Rosa Junior College (California), to join the first creative camp together with 15 Vietnamese artists. The result of this two-week-workshop was the exhibition "Hanoi Mural Project - the first images" was held at the Vietnam National Ethnology Museum . This exhibition was impressive and well received by the public as well as the authorities of Hanoi People's Committee.

- ON JUNE THE 21st, the Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee (e.g. the Hanoi Mayor), Mr. Nguyen Quoc Trieu, chaired a conference to get opinions from relevant people and departments, including: Architectural Planning, Culture & Information, Traffic & Public works, Planning & Investment, Dike Maintenance Sub-Branch etc. According to strong supportive comments, the authorities of Hanoi People's Committee have assigned the New Hanoi Arts Company as the official representative of the project, in charge of seeking for financial support and realizing the art works.

- NEW HANOI ARTS has been working on this project since July of 2007with the Hanoi Culture & Information Department and Vietnam Fine Arts Association. The Hanoi Art Council of the Hanoi Ceramic Mural (HCM) with 9 members was established to supervise the HCM project. The sketches for HCM by vietnamese and international artists (even by children or communities) will be chosen by this Council. New Hanoi Arts group with 15 artists and communities are working on sketches for HCM. HCM is confident in the artistic merit of these design proposals, but understands the difficulties it faces in fund raising for this project.

- ON 2nd DECEMBER 2007 New HanoiArts Group has facilitated meeting of New Hanoi Arts artists with 12 communities in Yen Phu street. after a presentation about HCM by the project’s founder, the artists answered questions by communities about HCM, its content and its technique. The commnunities are genuinely interested in the project. Artists invited volunteers from Youth Detachment to develop idea to participate in the project. New Hanoi Arts Group announced the schedule of Ceramic Mural courses , which will be opened in February 2008 in Hanoi workshop.

- On the Eve of 31 December 2007, a Live Show of Vietnam's leaded digital Telenews named VTC has nominated Nguyen Thu Thuy as an "Young Person of the Year".

- IN JANUARY 2008 The Ford Foundation became the first financial sponsor when they agreed to support the completion of 450m² of the ceramic mosaic mural. A studio was created, where the Vietnamese and international artists and communities can work together. Ph.D Michael DiGregorio, FF Program officer helps New Hanoi Arts Group with contacting with well known Public Arts artists in USA and to invite them to come to Hanoi as consultants for the Hanoi Ceramic Mural Project e.g Jane Golden-Executive director of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (MAP) ; Jon Pounds- Executive director of Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG); Olivia Gude-Associate Professor of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and ceramist, adjunct professor of arts Joel Bennett from Santa Rosa Junior college (California).

- In Febbruary 2008, Vietnam's biggest newspaper Nhan Dan ("The People") has listed Hanoi Mural as one of "Top ten cultural events of the Year 2007".

- In February 2008, the first pilot part (around 66 spm.) of the Hanoi Mural has been done.

- IN MARCH 2008 , New Hanoi Art organized the drawing event for pupils in An Duong school, which is in Yen Phu neighborhood. The most beautiful pictures will be re-produced in ceramic material.

- ON 14th MAY 2008 Dr.Alison R.Bernstein, Vice President (and Officer of Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom Program) of Ford Foundation New York , Dr.David Hulse -head of Ford Foundation Hanoi and Ph.D Michael DiGregorio, Program officer visited the first part of 100m2 of Hanoi Ceramic Mural and the workshop in 43, Road 5 , F361 An Duong street. There was a memorable meeting with the sponsor and the Yen Phu communities and children who are the beneficiaries of the project. Dr.Alison stated : "The beauty of this mural is that it combines traditional ceramics with contemporary artists' creations".

- IN THE SUMMER 2008 , New Hanoi Art Group opened mosaic courses to teach children and adult to make ceramic tiles and mosaic technique at the studio in An Duong.

- FROM JANUARY TO MAY 2008 artists Nguyen Thu Thuy, Bui Viet Doan, Trinh Minh Tien, Ha Huy Hiep, Ha Huy Muoi have been working in Bat Trang with volunteers from Yen Phu communities and artisans in Bat Trang to make ceramic tiles, carving motif on clay.

At the moment, 150m² of ceramic mosaic mural is completed. The concept for this first section came from Thuy, the project's founder, who wished to show respect for the culture of the Hung Kings, Vietnam's founders. The artists used patterns found on ancient Dong Son bronze drums and the waves of colorful tiles to represent the ever-flowing Red River. They decorated three concrete blocks at An Duong Gate with carved tiles glazed with splendid enamels. Terracotta reliefs of stylized Dong Son patterns like boats, Lac birds, fish, pelicans, and stilt-houses are surrounded by mosaic tiles.

Hanoi Mural - Feb 2008