This book is an introduction to contemporary Vietnamese painting. In the first part, the art historian and independent curator Shireen Naziree covers the background of contemporary Vietnamese painting and places it in the context of South East Asia. There is a section on how lacquer paintings are made, followed by profiles of fifteen prominent artists written by the Vietnamese art historian and critic Phan Cam Thuong.
Many of the artists started their careers during the mid-1980s, and may thus be labeled the doi moi generation, after the Vietnamese term for “renovation” and the process of opening Vietnam to the outside world. Although there had been many talented artists of the older generation, the artists of the doi moi generation were the first to break free from more conventional painting styles.
Lacquer paintings have been given special attention in the book. The lacquer technique and materials produce unique colours, luster and texture. Other countries produce lacquer ware, but only in Vietnam has the synthesis of traditional lacquer techniques and modern painting been successful. The art of lacquer painting is surely an important Vietnamese contribution to the global contemporary art scene.