Interview with Nhu Huy on The Thao Van Hoa daily on workshop conducted by Malcolm Smith (English)
Như Huy: “Many grants are waiting for Vietnamese artists”
Monday, 09/04/2012 14:30
[Source of the interview is here]
(The Thao & Van Hoa Daily) – Workshop Almost everything about grants, residency and funding body for art opened at 10 am on 7/4 and lasted for two days until 9/4 at ZeroStation (288 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, District 3, HCM city). The speaker is Malcolm Smith, a curator from Australia, who currently working at the province of Yogyakarta (Indonesia).
The workshop aims to equip young Vietnamese artist with the ability to find funding and residency in a globalized art scene. To better understand to issue, we have a talk with Mr. Như Huy, artistic director and curator from ZeroStation.
Many artist are marginalized
* Why ZeroStation has come up with this workshop?
- In my observation, what is so called “art world” for both Vietnamese artists and the audience is almost limited within the linear relations among artwork, critic and audience. All tensions, discourses and debates are mostly around this axis. I must say that this is a very limited way of looking at the art world.
Actually, the art world in the global age is extremely different with what we used to think, because it has become a complex system with sophisticated relations and a number of different practices which emerges from a complicated power structure.
As an independent artist, the only right way is to become someone clever and active in such a world, in the sense that s/he should know every corner in order to maintain the career, to learn new things, and especially to grasp the opportunity to go out without depending on any intermediary person.
* Is this because of such a limited viewpoint about the art world that Vietnamese artists are facing a number of constrains in finding funding?
- I believe that the art world nowadays is opening to all artists, including Vietnamese ones. According the information from Malcolm Smith, there are around 1,000 grants globally which give support to artist for 6 month to 1 year residency. Among them, there are about 50-100 grants for international artists.
Obviously, in order to get funding, an artist should be accepted into an art residency and should be able to prove his/her career commitment as well as his/her talents and readiness. These quality cannot come from “strong will”, but necessarily through a strict and smart procedure called application. Unfortunately, many Vietnamese artists are inexperienced about this practice, except those who had studied or grown up overseas.
This is also the key reason of why only a small group of Vietnamese artist are constantly exposed to international art scene while others are marginalised. I must say that sometimes, it is not the talent that brings about the opportunities but simply the applying skills and English proficiency.
Art has changed
* In your opinion, is this difficult to write an application? Can it possibly be obtained in a short workshop?
- I think it is both easy and difficult.
As explained above, Vietnamese artist are not familiar with this practice. We have not learned about it at school. When we get into real life, we have no opportunity to try because there are not many grants for art in Vietnam. In compared with artists of the area, our English proficiency is not worse.
Actually, a 3 day workshop is not a cursory but already very intensive and detailed. Each day, we spends 4 hours working. On the last day, Malcolm is working individually with the workshop participants. Also, the artist are welcomed to meet Malcolm directly or through email for more consultancy.
Still, the effectiveness of the workshop does not lie in me as the organizer, or Malcolm as the speaker, but in the artists themselves. Are they ready? Do they see enough urgency to overcome the inertia to be someone cleverer and more active to join the battlefield of art world, which has changed too much over the years?
* What is ZeroStation’s ambition for this workshop?
- We have no ambition. Doing workshop is one of the practices of ZeroStation. What we want to pursue is how to transform acting into action. Simply speaking, it means how to transform art as utopian delusion or fantasy into something useful for this life.
See the pictures of workshop here
English translated by Nguyen Thu Giang