Dutch artists hold ceramic exhibition to highlight Hoi An village tradition

By Dieu Hien, Thanh Nien News

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Douwe Buwalda and Bert van der Sluijs stand before a ceramic installation at their exhibition at Vietnam's pottery village Thanh Ha in Quang Nam Province on December 21. Photo: Dieu Hien Douwe Buwalda and Bert van der Sluijs stand before a ceramic installation at their exhibition at Vietnam's pottery village Thanh Ha in Quang Nam Province on December 21. Photo: Dieu Hien

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Two Dutch artists held an exhibition at a village outside Hoi An, which they hoped would inspire the local ceramic artists to continue their trade.
A ceramic stove propped up on knives, jars trapped in bird cages, a dry branch cutting into a clay basin, and knives cutting into wet clay were all included in the exhibition held from December 21 to January 1 at Thanh Ha clay park in the namesake village.
The exhibition featured more than 50 products Douwe Buwalda and Bert van der Sluijs created in the month they spent working with local artisans.
The work was meant to show life as a piece of art.
The duo graduated from the ceramics program at a major fine arts university in the Netherlands and have pursued independent paths designing their own products, ever since.
They said they have worked on pottery for many years and tried many kinds of material, but they were still drawn to Thanh Ha.
They said they wanted to introduce village life to visitors.
Sluijs said they were amazed by the natural beauty of the village, its rich resources of natural clay and the community's commitment to its craft.
The art form has been passed down through many generations in the village and become a part of their blood, he said.
The duo said the village’s products didn't jive well with market trends.
Local artisans have also failed to connect with tourists leaving artisans poor, despite their long tradition.
The duo said they have grown attached to Thanh Ha and are determined to help locals develop a plan to preserve their tradition.
They hoped the recent exhibition would help bring further attention to the craft.
The artists said those attending the exhibition can explore all aspects of daily village life.

Visitors admire a ceramic mural at the installation exhibition by Dutch artists Douwe Buwalda and Bert van der Sluijs on December 21, 2014 at Thanh Ha Village in Quang Nam Province.

The artists walk past one of their installations at the exhibition on December 21, 2014 at Thanh Ha village in Quang Nam Province.

The artist squats next to several lumps of clay.

Working with a local artisan.

Part of the ceramics exhibition.

An item at the exhibition - a clay bowl supported by knives.

Another knife-clay installation.

A dry tree branch cutting into a clay basin.

Layers of clay.

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