Vietnamese American creatives honored at Casa Romantica
The Orange County community is a culturally diverse one, and Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens remains dedicated to celebrating that diversity. Beginning this month, the San Clemente nonprofit arts destination will highlight Vietnamese culture and creatives.
Opening on Jan. 10 and on display through March 5, “Vietnamese-American Stories” is one of a series of Casa Connections events for the season. The programming will feature a curated exhibit of the work of Vietnamese American artist Hùng Viet Nguyen, with vivid landscape paintings inspired by traditional techniques, like woodblock print and Oriental scroll painting.
Born in Vietnam in 1957, Nguyen studied biology at Science University in Saigon, Vietnam. He came to the U.S. in 1982, where he pursued a career as an illustrator, graphic artist and designer after taking a course in technical drawing. Nguyen has cited art as a universal language, a truth that felt particularly poignant coming to the States as an immigrant with limited English. His works are labor-intensive contemporary pieces, influenced by traditional art forms such as ceramic art mosaic, and stained glass that are meant to speak to anyone.
The paintings featured at Casa Romantica share a theme of nature and showcase Nguyen’s exploration of spiritual forces that can be found there. “Sacred Landscape V 32,” for example, an oil on wood piece from Nguyen’s “Sacred Landscape” series (2015-2021), depicts glacial forms amid a volcano filled with red molten rock, surrounded by lush green fields and swirling water. Earth, fire, air and water are present in a way that can be viewed as both natural and unnatural. The series features trees, volcanos, oceans and glaciers, all land forms Nguyen notes for their primordiality.
Nguyen will be present at the opening reception on Jan. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. with complimentary wine and appetizers served. The opening is free and open to the public.
Additional offerings for “Vietnamese-American Stories” include a free coffee concert on Jan. 10 from 10 to 11 a.m. The event will be a special edition of Casa’s monthly coffee concerts, included with the price of general admission, and will feature gourmet Vietnamese coffee.
The celebration will continue on Feb. 5 with a special D. Yoder Family Sunday dedicated to celebrating Lunar New Year. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. family-friendly activities will be offered, including traditional lion dance performances.
Visit CasaRomantica.org for details.
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