The crest of autumn 2020 observes the opening night and first exhibition of Hue’s newest arts space, Be Cafe. The exhibition, titled ‘an Inside Out Dialogue’, aims to promote awareness around gender and gender equality through the mediums of art and music. ‘an Inside Out Dialogue’ includes the works of Huế artists Lê Thị Linh and Lê Quốc Hoàn and an opening night performance from All-female Hanoian band Me2. The opening evening is scheduled for 14th November 2020 and the exhibition will last until 14th November 2020.
About the Artists
Lê Thị Linh graduated from the Huế College of Fine Arts in 2018 and has participated in numerous art shows. Her work primarily focuses on identity; expressing her own inner dialogue as well as challenging gender norms and perceptions in contemporary society. She also teaches for the Rock paper Scissors Children’s Fund who offer free art classes for children.
Lê Quốc Hoàn is an independent visual artist who graduated from the Huế College of Fine Arts in 2002. His work has been exhibited in many countries He has also regularly taken part in multiple residency programs, Hoàn’s work has been exhibited both nationally and abroad. Recurring themes in Hoan’s work include maternity and pregnancy.
About the Band
Me2 Band are a Hanoian-based live music group consisting of Phạm Phương Tú, Nguyễn Thị Hương Quỳnh, Đào Phường An, Nguyễn Thị Huyền Sâm and Trần Thu Trang. Their pop music serves as a vehicle to promote female empowerment and raise issues of gender equality. The band will be travelling to Hue to perform on the opening night of ‘An Inside Out Dialogue’ on 14th November.
Be Café-Hue’s newest addition to the Hue Art Community
Transforming the ground floor and first floor of his house into a café-cum-gallery has been a long-term ambition for owner Dang Lam Phuong. He has already hosted several events at his house including workshops, musical performances and film nights. Yet, the naming of Be Cafe and hosting his first official exhibition is a significant step towards achieving his aspirations.
‘Being able to host the first official art and music show under Be Café is really a dream come true’ said Phuong. ‘It started out as a desire to own a Haruki Murakami – style Jazz café after I had read his novel South of the Border, West of The Sun. Subsequent meetings with many cool local artists and young people urged me to shape it into a multidisciplinary hub to bring people closer together.’
Be, meaning goat Vietnamese, is an unusual moniker for the venue. Omitting the sophistication and sometimes pretentiousness of art venues. How did this name come about?
‘I can recall clearly that day in the 1980s when my dad was riding me back from the kindergarten on his bicycle, our family’s sole means of transport at the time. He told me that, as I was born in the year of Goat I should have a nickname “Be” (because that is the sound a goat makes in Vietnamese). Growing older I have attached my nickname “be” to William Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be”’. After many years of struggling to find my own identity, I have chosen Be Café as a reminder: we can “be anything” as long as we “be ourselves.’
Gender and LGBT equality has experienced growing momentum in Vietnam. Over recent years, the country has legalised same-sex marriage and LGBT parades have become more regular in the country’s more cosmopolitan cities. In a recent British Council report, young people prioiritised LGBT and gender rights as being high on their list of concerns for their country.
I have personally known Hoàn and Linh for quite some time and familiar with their shared practice around gender roles. More recently, a friend in Hanoi put me onto Me2 Band and I was keen to get them to Hue. The theme came quite naturally early in the stages of organising the show. Also, Vietnamese Women’s Day (20/10/2020) is approaching. It’s a timely opportunity to raise awareness about gender equality.
An Inside Out Dialogue
at Be Café
14th November 2020 – 14th December 2020
14th November 2020- Opening night with live musical performance.
Thua Thien Hue