Australian artist drawn to Hoi An paints its charms

Tuesday - 26/05/2020 05:24

Australian Anna Barnes fell in love with daily life in the ancient town of Hoi An and vividly colored sketches capture her enchantment.

Hoi An 1 7873 1589855889

Barnes said she fell in love with Hoi An when she first traveled to Vietnam in 2012. Since then, she has been coming back between one to three times each year to continue drawing and hold different art workshops.

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 2 4865 4549 1589855889

A drawing of a fishing market on the outskirts where restaurants in the central ancient town buy raw materials from.

"To become a fish seller in Vietnam, one needs to have good health, owns white rubber boots, has a superficial but cheerful voice and can stand the fishy smell," the artist jokingly said.

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 3 1621 2504 1589855890

The idea came to her during her first trip to Hoi An with her 3-year-old son. As she ventured around the wet-market, she had the urge to pull out a notebook and began drawing.

She later showed her comic to local street vendors and they really enjoyed her artworks. At that moment, she realized this is an interesting way to learn and connect with the locals and decided to continue with this project.

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 6 1717 3386 1589855890

Since Barnes has a strong passion for food, her drawings often center around food and vendors. She also has more than 25 years' experience working in Sydney restaurants. She holds a master's degree in design from University of Sydney and a bachelor's degree in Southeast Asian studies.

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 7 1785 5592 1589855890

A drawing of a sweet soup (che) stall in Hoi An.

"This is a unique dessert that combines different ingredients like beans, fruit, yams and many others that are cooked with water and sugar. Once they are cooked, each type of che was put in separated pots and transported to the vendor."

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 9 1463 9709 1589855890

Her favorite piece is the drawing of Tuat, a vendor downtown selling banh can, which is made with rice flour and eggs. The steamed cakes come with a lot of toppings to choose from. Tuat later moved her stall out of the town’s center as tourism boomed while she only wanted to focus on serving locals.

"Every time I have the opportunity to visit Tuat's new place, I am very discreet, never taking anyone with me. I always sketched her portraits but she never smiled at me. Perhaps because I am a foreigner and my Vietnamese is very bad. But I still really like the steamed cake flavor here."

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 1 2943 2320 1589855890

People work on making Hoi An’s famous lanterns.

Barnes said the lanterns look mesmerizing at night with their light lighting up the surface of the nearby river.

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 1 3543 2236 1589855891

Barnes draws her sketches in little notebooks that she carries everywhere. Later, she takes photographs and shares them on her personal website and social media.

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 1 2308 8094 1589855891

Flower sellers line a street one morning.

"They sit in plastic tools and are surrounded with buckets of flowers, which makes it easy to display and clean up," Barnes said.

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 1 2081 2680 1589855891

A dissection of the ubiquitous banh mi.

"Painting and connecting with locals are experiences I cherish the most," Barnes said, adding that her goal is to bond people together via art, food and culture.

h i an qua tranh v khach tay 1 4897 2058 1589855891

Barnes shows curious locals her drawings.

She moved back to Australia in March over the Covid-19 crisis, but said she plans to relocate here for good when the outbreak is over. "There is something really special about Vietnam that makes me adore and want to learn more about the place."



Total notes of this article: 0 in 0 rating
Click on stars to rate this article

  Reader Comments

Security Code   

Newer articles

Older articles