It’s always such a tragedy to see a beautiful art technique phase out into the recesses of history, but thankfully there’ll always be those beacons of hope who refuse to let tradition die. One example is Nguyen Dang Tam, who is the youngest son and currently the 21st generation in a family who have been preserving a traditional art form called Dong Ho. He was recently appointed by the Vietnamese government as the official artist of this folk craft, who will promote and share it with the next generation.
Process of carving the woodblocks.
This art form is privileged to a small Vietnamese village of the same name. All the prints are made by using natural resources–organic paint is brushed on meticulously carved woodblocks and later hand-pressed onto paper made from the bark fiber of the dó tree.
To celebrate this art form in Singapore, Gallery & Co. has worked with Rice Creative and Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat to create some delicious chocolate bars ($29.90) made from some rare cacao varieties in the forests of Vietnam. Nguyen has provided hand-printed packaging for these artisanal chocolates–using the techniques of Dong Ho printing, of course–which showcases architectural elements of the National Gallery Singapore.
Part of the showcase at Gallery & Co.
The Dong Ho printing art form will be showcased in Gallery & Co. alongside a series of rare prints, display of materials, tools and a short video from now until Jul 31.