A collection of hundreds of high-quality photos depicting the culture and life of 54 ethnic minority groups across Vietnam is being on display for the first time on the global digital platform, Google Arts &amp;amp; Culture.
The exhibition, titled "Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum" by French photographer Réhahn Croquevielle, includes vibrant photos showcasing over 60 colourful traditional costumes from various ethnic groups such as Dao, Bo Y, O Du, Phu La, La Hu, Pu Peo, Pa Then, and Si La.
It also features interesting stories and unique artefacts that the author collected during his journey throughout Vietnam, discovering the beauty of the country and its people.
Information on each photo is provided in Vietnamese, English, and French. Images of 54 ethnic groups living in the regions of North, Central, and South Vietnam, each with distinct characteristics, lifestyles, and customs, are vividly portrayed, enabling viewers to better appreciate the rich and diverse national cultural identity.
In Réhahn's eyes, the North of Vietnam is an area of stunning beauty, having travelled to the most remote parts of the country to photograph the ethnic groups and learn their traditional songs.
He was especially taken with the Si La people in their costumes adorned with silver coins, which are believed to bring luck.
Réhahn also encountered the Dao, Pu Poo, Kho Mu, and Mong Hoa people, discovering that each has its own language, skills, and traditional attire. He expressed that while the northern mountain region might be remote and challenging to traverse, its captivating landscapes, colours, and contrasts have drawn him back time and again.
The photographer's journeys to the central and southern regions have been equally intriguing. He mentioned that in many areas, ethnic minorities live with scant opportunities to interact with foreigners, leading him to work there for many years.
He revealed that the most memorable encounter for him was likely with the O Du people, the smallest ethnic group in Vietnam, numbering only 376 individuals.
Réhahn's online photo exhibition on the Google Arts &amp;amp; Culture platform also allows viewers to appreciate and learn about the indigo dyeing technique of the Dao, Nung, Mong, and La Chi.
The dyeing technique imparts the characteristic green colour of the indigo plant and offers a process to create a non-toxic dyeing substance. It also encompasses weaving methods that have been handed down through centuries, such as harvesting hemp and batik design – a traditional handmade fabric with beeswax motifs using natural dyes. These techniques form an integral part of the culture, heritage, and in some instances, the livelihoods of ethnic minorities.
Additionally, the exhibition, accessible at https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/precious-heritage-art-gallery-museum, showcases and introduces various traditional local occupations, including the coffee production process of the K'Ho people and organic honey farming by the Co Tu.
After his initial exploration of the northern region, he devoted five years to immerse himself in the diverse, intricate culture and the delicate preservation of the cultural heritage of the ethnic groups.
Born in Normandy, France, Réhahn travelled to over 35 countries before choosing to settle in the ancient town of Hoi An, which he regards as his second home.
Drawn to capturing images of diverse cultures and collecting traditional costumes and invaluable artefacts, he chose to renovate an old house from the French colonial period in Hoi An. He transformed this dwelling into an art museum, dedicated to narrating the stories of Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups.
He also made a profound impression on the hearts of the Vietnamese art-loving community through portraits in Vietnam, Cuba, and India.
His career was accentuated with the release of a photo book titled "Mosaic of Contrasts" in 2014 in Vietnam, followed by the exhibition "Ageless Beauty" at the Vietnamese Women's Museum.
Source: Vietnam News Agency