Second Generation Artist: Covered the Conflict in Vietnam with America
Trịnh Kim Vinh was born in 1932 in Hanoi, where she spent the majority of her life before reunification. She spent her life dedicated to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s (DRV) arts and culture, using her considerable experience studying abroad to teach art at various primary and secondary schools in Vietnam.
Trịnh Kim Vinh and the Việt Minh
At the age of 13, Vinh joined the August Revolution in 1945 where she held many positions of responsibility including Youth Union leader and Commune Woman’s Commissar, charged with eradicating illiteracy. Vinh also began drawing for a local newspaper in her hometown to mobilize women for the fight. She joined the Việt Bắc Resistance Class that was set up in the Việt Bắc from 1949 to 1951. Upon finishing her studies, Vinh studied at the Pedagogy Faculty in China until 1953.1
Trịnh Kim Vinh during an interview with Witness Collection on 1 February 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City
After holding numerous positions in different communes and districts, Vinh became the principal of Lý Nhân primary school in Tuyên Quang Province (Việt Bắc Military Zone) from 1953 to 1954. From 1954 to 1955, during a field trip in North Vietnam, Vinh was honoured to meet Hồ Chí Minh, or “Uncle Ho” as he was affectionately termed. She continued teaching at various primary and secondary schools in Hanoi from 1955 to 1964.2
Trịnh Kim Vinh’s Education and Career
Subsequently, in 1964, Vinh enrolled in the Vietnam Fine Arts College diploma course, graduating in 1969. She was then sent to the former Democratic Republic of Germany to conduct research for her master’s degree in lithography between 1970 and 1973. She studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Dresden. On her return, she was appointed the head of the Drawing Department at the Vietnam Fine Arts College.3
Her husband, Lưu Hữu Phước, a writer and musician, served as the Minister of Culture and Information in the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam. During the late-1960s, Trịnh Kim Vinh sketched and painted mainly female soldiers and women who were involved in the war effort.
After reunification in 1975, Vinh was transferred to the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts College, where she taught as Head of the Plastic Art and Graphics Faculty and later became vice-principal, until 1995. In that time, she also became a member of the executive committee of the Ho Chi Minh Fine Art Association.
In 1983 she won second prize at the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Exhibition. Her work has been shown in many national and international exhibitions, including at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.
Later in Life
From 1995 to 2010, Vinh was included as memebr of the Vietnam-Germany Friendship Association, based the connections she made during her days studying her master’s degree there.
Continuing with her prolific career as a teacher, she went on to tutor students researching their master’s degrees at the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University from 1996 to 2009. At that time, she also became a member of the Plastic Art Council, which approved student works master’s degrees at the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University.
Trịnh Kim Vinh retired in 2009. She lives in Ho Chi Minh City.
Realism in Asian Art, 2010, The National Art Gallery, Singapore & The National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Korea
Hội Mỹ Thuật Việt Nam, Nghệ sĩ tạo hình Việt Nam hiện đại (Ký Hệu Hội Viên), 2009, Nhà Xuất Bản Mỹ Thuật, Hà Nội
C. David Thomas, As Seen by Both Sides: American and Vietnamese Artists Look at the War, 1991, University of Massachusetts Press; First Edition, Massachusetts
Nguyễn Thanh Châu, Tác Giả – Tác Phẩm Mỹ Thuật (Authors and Works of Fine Art); Thời kỳ Chiến Tranh Cách Mạng (Anthology of Fine Arts Works during the Revolutionary Wartime), 2005
Graphics Department 1976-2008, 2008, Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University, Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam Fine Art Museum, Hanoi
The South East Military Zone 9 Museum and Military Zone 7 Museum, Ho Chi Minh City
The South Women Museum
Tây Ninh Musuem
National Copper Graving Museum, Germany
The Culture House, Germany
1974 – Solo exhibition at Dresden University
1991 – As Seen by Both Sides, 1989-1994, exhibited at 17 museums in the USA and 3 museums in Vietnam
2010 – Realism in Asia, Singapore National Gallery, Singapore & National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea
1945 – Youth Union Leader of Cho Dua, Hanoi
1945-1946 – Commune Women’s Commissar
Member of the Executive Committee of the Redemptionists
1947-1949 and 1964-1969 – Head of the Xuan Truong district Women’s Training
1970-1974 – Interprovincial commissioner of students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Teacher at Thanh Quan Elementary School in Hanoi
Director of Graphic Design at the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University, Ho Chi Minh City
1975-1995 – Deputy Director of Teaching Methodology at the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University, Ho Chi Minh City
1954 – Medal of Merit in Resistance
1958 – Fine Arts Prize given by the Vietnam Council of Fine Arts
1958 – Encouragement Prize of National Paintings 1958 for the painting Thư Tín Bắc Nam –
Mails between The North and The South, gouache
1961 – 1st Rank Medal of Resistance (Prime Minister Phạm Văn Đồng)
1978 – 2nd Prize of Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association for the painting Cảng Nhà Rồng,
Nhà Rồng Port, stone
1982 – 2nd Prize of National Propaganda Paintings for the painting “Cây Có Dầu – Tree That Is.”
Having Oil, gouache
1983 – 2nd Prize of Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association for the painting “Cảnh Khánh Hội” (Scene of Khánh Hội)
1985 – Medal of Resistance (The President Trường Chinh)
1990 – Excellent Teacher award given by The State Council
1991 – Special Prize, held by Pasteur Institute of France “Pasteur – Calmette – Yersin vivront toujours dans le Coeur des meres”
1991 – Associate Professor of the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University, Ho Chi Minh City
1994 – Medal for Union Career (General Labor Union of Vietnam)
1995 – Medal for Educational Career of Vietnam
1997 – Medal for Vietnamese Arts Career by Vietnam Fine Arts Association
REFERENCES AND FOOTNOTES:
- Realism in Asian Art, 2010, The National Art Gallery, Singapore & The National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Korea.
- Biography compiled from two interviews with Trịnh Kim Vinh in Ho Chi Minh City, 2005, conducted by Witness Collection.
- Information about Trịnh Kim Vinh’s husband and her study in East Germany taken from two interviews with Trịnh Kim Vinh in Ho Chi Minh City, 2005, conducted by Witness Collection.
- Văn Thành, “The talented woman in the life of musician Lưu Hữu Phước,” 10 January 2013, Người Đưa Tin News. Visited on 12 April 2018.