Bui Quang Anh

Bùi Quang Ánh

Bùi Quang Ánh (1940 – )

Early years

Bùi Quang Ánh was born in Hanoi on 4 November 1940. At 14 years old, he began his artistic studies under master painters Nguyễn Tiến Chung and Lương Xuân Nhị, exhibiting his first oil painting in a national exhibition at the age of 16. In 1963, he enrolled in Vietnam Fine Art College and graduated in oil painting in 1968. After graduation, he joined the political department of the Army Ordnance Division of the People’s Army of Vietnam (also known as the North Vietnamese Army), documenting through art his experiences of the war until 1975. He travelled throughout Vietnam, witnessing many battles, particularly along the Hồ Chí Minh trail, in Southern Laos and at Khe Sanh (1968-72), and subsequently in Nha Trang and Tây Ninh before he arrived in Saigon in April 1975.

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Mid career

After the war ended, he changed his style to abstract, initially as a way of portraying the horrors of Agent Orange without depicting human deformities, but subsequently as a means of achieving a greater level of freedom from officials and censors. Ánh says it allows him to best express the feelings deepest in his soul. In 1977, he took up a teaching post at Hanoi Industrial Fine Art College, but subsequently moved to Ho Chi Minh City, where he has been actively painting since 1986.