These Vietnam art activities are wonderful for getting to know Vietnamese leaders and creators, and learning from their gifts and style. Keep reading until the end for some virtual field trips to some amazing museums in Vietnam!
Featured Vietnamese Artist: Danh Vo
Danh Vo is a large-scale contemporary artist focused on belonging.
Danh’s family escaped Vietnam in 1969 on a homemade boat and were rescued at sea by a shipping vessel. The Ship was owned by the Danish company Maersk, so Vo and his family then moved to Denmark, where he grew up. He studied painting but never graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
From 2010-2012, Danh recreated a life-size Statue of Liberty, only as thick as two pennies, from 30 tons of copper. Danh shipped some of the 300 pieces to fifteen different cities. In December 2014, New York’s City Hall Park and the Brooklyn Bridge Park displayed the unassembled “We the People” statue.
By Hotcoffee 01 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30525837
Question for Discussion: What does the Statue of Liberty symbolize? What do the individual, separated pieces of the statue of liberty, symbolize?
Vietnam Art Activities: Vietnam Craft & Culture Activities for Kids
Featured Vietnam Art Activity: Hòn non bộ
Hòn non bộ is a Vietnamese art form to make miniature landscapes of the natural environment. The name means either “imitating the way the scenery looks in miniature” or “mountainous island in the sea.” Penzai is the ancient Chinese art of decorating trees and landscapes artistically in miniature miniature form, and Hòn non bộ is the local Vietnamese version of it (just like bonsai is the Japanese version!).
Hòn non bộ always includes rocks arranged to look like a mountain or range of mountains, as well as coastal scenery, vegetation, and usually islands in a shallow sea. This is done by arranging rocks to look like the mountain scene in a shallow concrete container with water in it to represent the sea.
Hòn non bộ can be used as decoration at the entrance of a traditional Vietnamese home, or it can be very large to decorate palaces and monuments. It is also traditionally used as a way to meditate. (Source, Source)
You can create your own hòn non bộ-inspired miniature landscape. Here’s what you’ll need!
- Photo or drawing of a mountainous landscape that you love – this could be a place you love personally or you can find inspiration from these mountainous photos of Vietnam
- Wide plastic serving bowl or plastic plant saucer (plastic so you don’t have to worry about it shattering!)
- A variety of sizes of stones and rocks
- Mini fake trees and plants, or real ones that you include
- Artificial moss
- Any small toys – people, animals, bridges, etc.
- Fill the base of your plastic container with water.
- Stack your stones in the shape of the mountain or mountains in your photo or drawing. Create a visual that is beautiful when observing it from all directions, including from the top.
- Arrange trees and moss over the rocks in a pleasing way.
- Include any figurines or bridges that you’d like.
Other Vietnam Craft Activities for Kids
- Moon festival (Tết) paper lanterns (the lanterns are popular for good luck year round in Hoi An!)
- Learn to draw a lotus flower, the national flower of Vietnam and a symbol of dawn and purity
- Color in a Vietnamese pho bowl and draw in some rice noodles. Then draw and cut out whatever toppings you’d like, and add them to your bowl! Some options include: sliced meat, bean sprouts, soft boiled eggs cut in half, fresh basil and mint, cut circles of jalapeno pepper, or wedges of lime