Bui Xuan Phai Foundation, named after the
venerable painter, was launched on the
occasion of his 20th death anniversary on
June 20. Bui Xuan Phai was well-known for
his paintings of Ha Noiís Old Quarter and
highly respected for his strong values. A
vast collection of his work can be found in
many galleries around the world. The painter
received the highest national award, the Ho
Chi Minh Prize, posthumously in 1996.
Culture Vulture sat down to talk with his
son, artist Bui Thanh Phuong, about the
foundation he set up to commemorate his
fatherís contribution to art.
Why did you choose to launch the Bui
Xuan Phai Foundation 20 years after the
painterís death? What is its mandate?
foundation was set up by myself and one of
the largest art collectors of
Bui Xuan Phaiís works, Tran Hau Tuan.
I wanted to set up the foundation about 10
years ago but I lacked the finances and the
support from my family that I needed. In the
beginning my purpose was to make the
foundation popular. The first person I
turned to discuss funding was art collector
Tuan. He immediately agreed and said "my
father gave me life but Bui Xuan Phai gave
me a lifetime of [his] work." For me, Phai
bequeathed me both.
I must emphasise that we raised funds as a
way to express our gratitude to Phai for
many of his great contributions to
I think most projects need time before they
can become a reality. We decided that his
20th death anniversary was the right time to
launch the foundation as he is a well-known
artist on a global level.
Where does the foundation get its
financial support from?
foundation has an initial investment of
US$30,000, made by Tuan and I. This sum has
been deposited in the bank and we will use
the yearly interest towards setting up the
Bui Xuan Phai Prize. The prize is not much,
about $1,000, but we hope to increase the
value of the prize every year.
Tell us more about the prize. What
prompted you to start it?
Bui Xuan Phai Prize is being created in a
bid to encourage new painters to work for
the country and for their beloved Ha Noi.
We plan to mobilise and raise funds from
both Vietnamese and foreign friends who
share a love and appreciation for Phai.
Additionally, we will raise money from
auctions and exhibitions.
In future, we hope to expand the
foundationís platform to offer scholarships
in Phaiís name. We want more artists to be
awarded this prize.
When do you plan to award it?
prize will be awarded on September 1, each
year, on the artistís birthday. All work in
fine arts as well as literature centering on
Ha Noi will be considered.
Both of us are very busy with our personal
affairs so we cannot look up the artistsí
activities. Luckily, we were introduced to
the editorial board of The Thao & Van Hoa
(Sport &Culture) newspaper who will assist
us in the operation and holding of the award
ceremony. We have met the newspaperís
editor-in-chief Ngo Ha Thai twice to discuss
the first ceremony.
The awarding ceremony will be held at my
house. I want people to be able to see for
themselves where the artist was born, lived,
worked and eventually died. This will bring
people closer to understanding him and what
Have you decided on the recipient of
We have not decided yet. It may be
painter/journalist Nguyen Thu Thuy for her
work Ceramic Road. Her piece was created to
commemorate and celebrate the 1,000th
birthday of Thang Long, the name of the old
capital. ó VNS
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