Nostalgic Paintings Capture 1990’s Saigon

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As our fast-paced modern life is spinning by, a group of young artists based in Ho Chi Minh City have been painting their childhood memories of the city in an attempt to preserve them. These artists have compressed vanishing scenes of Saigon city life into sketches of small corners to be presented in a museum art exhibit. Nostalgia is important to every generation.

“Sometimes I think about life as I’m wandering down Saigon’s busy streets,” creative director Maxk Nguyen wrote in the introduction to Saigon in the book, Three Square Meters. “How will the city look in 30 years? These parts of our daily life like street food stands, motorbike taxis… will they remain the same, or fade away to leave room for something new?”

With this idea in mind, the 10-member group of illustrators and typographers spent two months documenting what once was familiar to Saigon residents in the 1990s: a video rental store, a barber shop, a sign painter, and a bike repair stall.

All of the scenes with unique, charming features are packed into a corner of three square meters.

“I believe every kid born in Saigon has a pleasant space, a corner for ourselves to remember,” said Maxk Nguyen. “That’s how we feel when we look at these paintings.”

The artistic team of Maxk Nguyen (Creative Director), Thai Thanh Do (Art Director), Truong Ngoc Quoc Dung (typographer), Thinh Le, Min Non, Phong Vo, Hiia Huynh, and Hoang Thach (Illustrator Artists) plan to display their work in an exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City.

Here are some paintings showing what the artists miss from the city’s old days:

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