The Masks

Efka Project
Art Market Gallery

36 South Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 


THE MASKS ( 100 Drawings)

The Vietnamese traditional theater, “Hat Boi”, has been a popular performing art for hundreds of years. Similar to, and borrowing from many Chinese stories and legends, “Hat Boi” has been deeply absorbed into the cultural life of the Vietnamese people. The two principal factors of this performing art are the mask and movement. The masks symbolize different characteristics of personalities and the movement expresses their emotion.

It has been a very long process of centuries to form typical samples of masks that represent various personalities of theater – good/ bad or mean/pleasant people. The painted masks on faces of “Hat Boi” artists depict the complicated personalities of the stage, which could illustrate a tiny world of humanity. How interesting it is to discover the various characteristics of individuals under their masks on the stage – and in real life!

Trying to put a mask on a piece of ‘DO’ (a Vietnamese traditional hand-made paper) has been an amazing and colorful experience. A new visual world has opened to me. My series of “The Masks” has developed more quickly than I expected. Many new effects of the ‘DO’ have emerged – amazingly – during the process of creating. This soft and durable paper (hand-made by a thousand year old technique) adopts and reacts flexibly – enhancing the expression of ideas in numerous modern and contemporary styles.

“ The Masks” display as a mosaic of 100 drawings, which is my discovery on various aspects with 8 small series titled: The Spring, Calligraphy I, Calligraphy II, Red and Black, The Spider, Gold & Silver and the Masks. It is a great adventure in cultural identity, modernism, and traditional materials of Viet Nam.