Awesome Vietnamese Sand Art Introduced in Birmingham

by Luu Hoang Phuong

Last Saturday on the 7th July 2012, I ran an event ‘Pure Art’ for my MA by Practice at Birmingham City University took place at Second City Suite, Birmingham. The event has attracted over 70 participants and I also had the pleasure to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Kirk there. More surprisingly, I was kindly offered by Mrs. Junying Kirk to have a post on her blog. Thanks to Junying for giving this privilege to a newcomer like me ^.^

“Pure Art” at Second City Suite, Birmingham

The event was aimed to showcase the Sand Art from Vietnam. Since my arrival in the UK, I have come to see that most of the British people and other nationals living in the UK have no idea about my home country, except the war with France and US. Therefore I believe that it is necessary to say a few words about the new Vietnam, from a modern perspective.

Vietnam is a tropical country situated in the South-East Asia, bordered with China, Laos and Cambodia. Vietnamese people are very intelligent, hard-working and hospitable. Motorbike is the most popular choice of transport of the country but with the economical development, more and more people wish to own a car for traveling.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

National Park Phong Nha


We are proud to own two World Natural Heritage Sites, Ha Long Bay in the North and  Phong Nha KeBang National Park in the Midland. However, if you come to the South, you’ll have the chance to discover many desolate and primeval beaches that have never suffered human exploitation. We have most impressive landscapes such as Mui Ne, Con Dao or Phu Quoc.

Mui Ne, where sand painting art was first created

Interestingly, Sand Painting was accidentally created from sand hill in the so-called ‘Hawaii of Vietnam’, Mui Ne. After 11 years of development, this type of sand art has been adored and favored by many foreign tourists when they visited the country.

To be honest, I learnt about Sand Art only seven months ago, when I returned to Vietnam for the Lunar New Year. A chance meeting with Sand Artist Thuy Van gave me a new idea very quickly – introducing this unique and special art to the British people on a special occasion, in this case, ‘Welcome the Queen to West Midlands’ in her Diamond Jubilee year. The painting took nearly three months to complete, weighing 160 kilos and is the world’s biggest portrait in sand painting.

You can find out more about the journey to this record sand painting of Vietnamese artist Thuy Van via the video HERE.

Phuong Vy sand painting progress – how to make a masterpiece

Artist at Work

Beside the Queen’s sand painting, the event also introduced another stunning performance in sand animation by Vietnamese artist Tri Duc. This is absolutely a highly entertaining art form which led to rapturous applauses at the show.

Tri Duc expertly explored the story of Queen’s 60-year-on-throne with his ingenious hands to control tiny sands, with magnificent music to match and his passion for the art he has created. Sharing with participants on the “Pure Art” stage, the artist informed us that he had spent a lot of time in researching about Her Majesty’s life and having printed out over 1,000 pictures to form the best frames for his wonderful performance.

Please check out the excerpt from sand animation performance by artist Tri Duc in “Pure Art” Queen Elizabeth II (Part One); and Queen Elizabeth II (Part 2).

Queen Elizabeth II, Part One

Queen Elizabeth II Part Two

Beautiful Luna

Once again I’d like to thank Junying for giving me a chance to introduce Vietnamese sand art with her beloved readers.

Bio: Luu Hoang Phuong, popularly known as Luna, will finish her MA Media and Creative Enterprise course at Birmingham City University in September, 2012, with a distinction grade (expected :)) She plans to develop her career in marketing/PR industry. As a passionate and challenge-embraced person, Luna loves to discover new things, and enjoys networking with like-minded people. She will try her best to attain ambitious goals. 

Phu Quoc, another famous tourist site

Junying’s Note: I was absolutely blown away by the Sand Animation Live Show by the Vietnamese artist Tri Duc. Please watch the video clips above and be amazed!

Luna, you have my utmost appreciation for taking us in a virtual guided tour of your beautiful country Vietnam, and for introducing amazing Vietnamese art to the rest of the world. I can’t wait to visit Vietnam, to explore its beautiful landscape and get to know her people. I wish you luck, happiness and success. Dream big and aim high, young lady!

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3 Responses to Awesome Vietnamese Sand Art Introduced in Birmingham

  1. Dannie Hill says:

    What a beautiful post, Luna! Thank you, Junying for bring such a wonderful person to your blog.

    I went to Vietnam as a young man during a terrible time to be there. Even with the events of the time I fell in love with (most) of the people and the beauty all around me. It left a love for Asia in me and the good memories are still with me. This is the first I’ve heard of the Sand Art of Vietnam. I want to know more about it. Thank you, Luna!

    • Junying says:

      Dannie, many thanks for leaving such encouraging comments for Luna. So glad to hear that your love affair with Asia started years ago and it remained intact.

      Yes, the Sand Art is pretty amazing. I know that Tibetans do that but I didn’t know that it’s popular in Vietnam too.

    • Luna says:

      Hi Dannie,

      Thank you for your generous compliments for the post 🙂 I’m very happy that you still keep beautiful memory of Vietnam and I wish you can visit the country once again to witness its huge change after the war.
      Sand painting is rather young art form compared with other traditional arts and crafts in Vietnam. However it’s now becoming more and more popular because of its uniqueness and multi-purpose use. Besides using for souvenir and decoration by individuals, sand painting now is ordered by corporates to make their logos and even stationery stuffs. You can check it out here and I hope to have more talk with you on Vietnam and sand art.

      Best wishes!

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