When we draw a stick person, is it considered art? What significance does art have on our lives?
These are some of the questions raised by RMIT Vietnam alumni Tung Mai and Nguyen Kim To Lan at a recent workshop on art appreciation for current RMIT Vietnam students.
As part of RMIT Vietnam’s Personal Edge program, the workshop provided students with a brief introduction to art with the goal of inspiring students to invite art into their lives.
Workshop presenter Mr Tung Mai said there’s currently a lack of art education in Vietnam.
“With this workshop, we hope to motivate students to learn more about art,” he said.
Tung Mai and Nguyen Kim To Lan represent Sao La, a non-profit initiative with the aim to make contemporary art accessible to the general Vietnamese public through educational programs as well as to nurture the growing creative community.
The pair provided its audience with snapshots of art history, from cave murals to contemporary art installations.
They also offered insight into the process of producing art and gave some tips on how to best understand art.
To read artwork, you need to ask questions, Ms To Lan explained.
Throughout the workshop, students were challenged to think critically about art, such as reasons behind the colour and the material as well as to think about what message the artist is trying to portray.
Workshop attendee and Bachelor of Commerce student Tuan Nguyen said he often found art complicated.
“The workshop has made me feel more confident about art,” he said.
“I have a better understanding of how to read it now.”
A central theme of the workshop was the impact of art on society and the individual.
The presenters described how some artwork, like the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Merlion in Singapore, becomes a symbol of national identity.
And other artworks impact society by commenting on a social issue.
Students discussed a project that focused on the cruelty of eating meat, and another that raised awareness of Vietnamese refugees living in Cambodia.
According to the presenters, appreciating art can also bring happiness to individuals.
“Art can help students enjoy their lives more,” Mr Tung Mai said.
“It makes them more creative and helps them with their studies.”
The Impact of Art workshop will run every semester through the University’s Personal Edge program.
Personal Edge is a series of modules aimed at enhancing student employability, self-awareness, management of university and work life, and personal skills.