Tran Van Mang (b. 1949) depicts everyday village life in Vietnam in a free, Expressionist style. Using rich colours, strong line and lively, spontaneous brushwork, Tran conveys the play of sunlight and wind on the lush tropical scenery, as well as the sense of energy of the people going about their daily lives. By integrating the figures closely with the landscape, Tran succeeds in expressing the unity of man and nature. These are timeless scenes in which everyday life - of the market, of annual festivals, of simple conversations between men and women against the backdrop of sun and sea - has changed little over the centuries.
Tran Van Mang was born and grew up in an aristocratic family in the ancient city of Hue, the former capital, in central Vietnam. In 1972 he graduated from the Hue Fine Art College as Outstanding Student of the drawing faculty. Unlike the big cities of Hanoi and Saigon, Hue has remained outside the maelstrom of the 20th century, retaining its sense of pride and tranquillity. Situated between the sea and the mountains, the region has an extreme climate with very hot summers and continuous rain in winter, making the people resilient to the hardships of life. From 1975 to 1985, Tran and his family endured a difficult time because of the political situation in Vietnam. Unable to work as an artist, he was forced to earn his living selling cakes or balloons in the street.
However, with a fortitude typical of the Hue people, Tran, a quiet and unassuming man, never lost his dedicated artistic spirit. From the mid-1980s he began to paint again, taking part in annual fine art exhibitions in Hue. Today his vibrant works express his deep love for his homeland and beyond that, the energy of his inner self and his great love of life.