ECOart Vietnam

The ECO-art project of the independent group curators ACCA and Muong Studio aims to make a breakthrough to promote the formation and development of Vietnam ECO-art



George Burchett

George Burchett: Elephant Project – ECO-art @ Muong Studio, Hoa Binh 2015-16

This will be my third art project at Muong Cultural Museum in Hoa Binh.

The first project was the Under The Roof international art workshop in November 2012. My art then was inspired by the cultural/natural environment of the Muong Museum. I produced works – ink and gesso on Dó paper pasted on canvas – with images of horses and dragonflies. I had observed the dragonflies (chuồn chuồn) around the pool of the Muong Museum where I had set up my first open air “studio”.

Geore Burchett ECO-art application form1
George Burchett – Horses and Dragonflies, ink and gesso on Dó paper pasted on canvas, Muong Cultural Museum, Hoa Binh, November 2012

The second project was the Đình project for which I did a 15 day residency in May 2014. During the residency I produced two sculptures of man/woman using material found on the spot. The sculptures were placed in the pool of the Muong Sculptural Museum. As I wrote at the time the sculptures pose the following question: is it possible to re-introduce man/woman back into nature without disturbing the peace?

Geore Burchett ECO-art application form2
George Burchett – man/women, wood, metal, gesso, acrylic, Muong Cultural Museum, Hoa Binh, May 2014

For the ECO-artvn project, I want to focus on the plight of Vietnam’s elephants. I recently discovered a film made by the Liberation Studios of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam in 1963-64. The film follows my father – Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett – during his visit to the NLF controlled zones of South Vietnam. Nature and ethnic minorities, Rhade, Mnong and others play an important role in the film – they are an essential part of Vietnam’s struggle for independence and unity. There are some extraordinary images of elephants in the Central Highlands.

Watching the film I remembered the stories my father used to tell about the jungle and elephants and other animals in his letters from the jungles of South Vietnam.

Today, the elephants and their natural habitat have almost disappeared. The elephants of Vietnam are threatened with extinction.

Vietnam’s elephants are more than just wild animals, they are part of Vietnamese history, culture, tradition, religion. How many Vietnamese heroes – like Hai Bà Trưng, Bà Triệu and countless others – rode elephants into battle against invaders? Elephants played an important role in Vietnam’s more recent struggle for independence and reunification. As the narration in the film says: elephants are “the heavy motorised cavalry of the local guerillas”.

Geore Burchett ECO-art application form4

People need to be reminded of this and alerted to the immediate threat to this magnificent animals and their natural environment.

For this project I propose to create images of elephants in clay, on paper and in other natural materials and through the elephants, draw people’s attention to other urgent ecological concerns.

An important part of the project would be collaboration with experts in other fields such as cultural researchers, environmentalists, scientists and, of course, fellow artists. The main purpose would be to ring as many alarm bells as possible and bring urgent environmental issues to public attention with artworks, exhibitions, publications, media campaigns, conferences and other events.

George Burchett, Hà Nội, May 2015

Geore Burchett ECO-art application form3
George Burchett – sketch for Bà Triệu, ink on paper, 9.3.15

Graham Burchett


As an artist who works primarily with technology in order to produce digital media-based
artworks, there is an immediate question as to how these forms and resultant artworks fit within the Ecological art concept. The answer to the question lies in how the technologies have been used since their inception; as a means to record, document and investigate pressing issues such as those relating to ecology and ecological impact.

The classic forms of documentary film, cinema verité, photo journalism and new forms of ‘hybrid documentary’ amongst others are the means of presenting these issues to an audience in order to enlighten, educate, and raise awareness.

My artistic practice over the last decade plus has involved video, sound, photography and
graphic design. My recent work in particular has engaged video art and sound design with
elements of documentary film. Between 2008 and 2011 I conducted research and material gathering in Rocinha, the largest favela (shantytown) in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. The outcome of this process of material gathering was the creation of two major works Dancing in the Shadows (2009) and a follow-up, Living in the Shadows (2011) which combine elements of documentary film (first hand evidence from the subject), video art (stylised imagery), and sound design (soundtrack created from field recordings).

Proposal overview

My proposal for the ECO-artvn project is a continuation of the research and material
gathering methodology and artistic approach I undertook with Dancing and Living in the Shadows. I envisage that by the end of the 2nd Phase of the ECO-artvn project, the finished work will be a 20-40 minute hybrid documentary media artwork which investigates relevant and current environmental and ecological issues facing Viet Nam.

Phase 1

During the 1st Phase of the project, my focus will be to gather initial materials; video footage, interviews, field recordings, and photographs focussed on the local area and surrounding regions. From this material I will create a body of smaller fragment-like artworks—segments of video, audio compositions, and prints (natural pigments with woodblock or lino cut on hand-made paper / found surfaces), which also act as documentation of the ongoing process.

Phase 2

In Phase two, the material gathering process becomes more involved and focussed on
interviews of subjects such as local ethnic people, community leaders and experts. I am
interested in working in collaboration with cultural researchers and environmentalists who
can provide deeper insight and knowledge of the environmental issues facing the region
and the impact on local ethnic peoples. The 2nd phase is where the gathered material is
edited and put into place as a singular work, and the main overarching theme comes to the forefront.

Finished work

The completed artwork is part video art, part sound installation, and part documentary—a
‘hybridised’ form of media art.

Living in the Shadow:

Dancing in the Shadow:

Mai Nguyên Long


Mai Nguyen-Long: Concept / Approach 19 July 2015 update


The Eco Art project has provided me with the opportunity to spend time in Bat Trang. My experience in this village with many centuries of ceramics tradition will inform my initial contribution to the project. I will try to be as open-minded as possible and not be restrictive about what I may successfully create or fail at; and acknowledge the insider / outside ironies in my own processes.

Although observed from a distance, I had a strong response to a particular tree-felling incident…seeing it as a microcosm for ideas of power, capitalism, misplaced identities, idealism, social media, and community consultation. Like a sense of identity, I see the relationship – shape and form – between plants and the human body as a form of spiritual mapping: a perpetual search for survival. I am interested in personal navigations and complexity…and how definitions, relationships, and priorities morph and distort across cultural boundaries…time, place, language…

This project will allow me to place myself outside of my comfort zone and to focus on experimenting with a completely new skill. It opens a rare space for me to connect with my parents and their research on the history of Vietnamese art pre-1945; and to revisit my own early 90s exposure to Communal Hall woodcarvings, the irreverent nature of these expressions and their implications.

Ultimately, this project is an opportunity for me to search for new and meaningful connections with Vietnam, my Father’s birth country, after virtually a 20 year absence. Renewing my relationship with Vietnam is a process of my own search for a constructive future in which I hope to learn from and share with others. In the longer term, perhaps I can find an increased understanding of philosophies that promote a more holistic approach to life, and a greater understanding of peace. The Eco Art project may provide a platform for me to explore some of these ideas.



Mai Nguyen-Long: Bio 19 July 2015 update


Mai’s first solo show was at Hanoi University of Fine Arts Gallery (1996), a work titled E Chong: A Bilingual Installation with Incorrect Translations. Later the same year her first Australian solo show was at Bellas Gallery, Queensland. Relocating to Sydney, her paintings became surreal settings with stereotypical Australian symbols (Ray Hughes Gallery). For a 2006 commission by Casula Powerhouse Mai created 3-dimensional dog forms as a metaphor for her Australian-Vietnamese identity, explaining herself as a mongrel. The ‘skins’ of Mai’s Pho Dogs were deemed offensive to the national chapters of the Vietnamese Community in Australia, and the piece was censored from the exhibition (2008). This cultural fracture was laid to rest in the performance/installation piece, The Burning of Godog at the opening of Nam Bang!, Casula Powerhouse (2009). While the dog has become a cultural trigger, Mai equally has used it over the years to explore narratives that are extremely personal and self-reflective. Mai’s 2014 solo exhibition Beyogmos, commissioned by Wollongong Art Gallery (curated by Gina Fairley) presented the latest stage of synthesizing key works separated by a decade of practise, with a focus on going ‘beneath the skin’ of the dog, weaving together personal Spirit Maps, navigating abstract pathways for peace and transcendence, and embracing dis/connected identities. Mai’s first new media work in 2014 (a charcoal drawing animation) was acquired by Wollongong Art Gallery, and later installed at Mosman Art Gallery. She is currently a Cultural Development Worker at Wollongong City Council, working on a workshop series focussing on disadvantaged communities from diverse backgrounds. The series follows a similar ‘break and re-make’ philosophical approach to her City of Melbourne / Multicultural Arts Victoria Mission Mongrel series and her Festivals Australia / Wollongong City Council Metamorphic Mongrel projects. Mai explains My work is inspired by day-to-day psycho emotional journeys and a desire to understand these within a broader social-cultural context.” More info:



Mis/alignment, Mai Nguyen-Long 2013, acrylic paint on 44 canvas boards, 163 x 336cm, Collection: Wollongong Art Gallery




Mai Nguyen-Long The Burning of Godog 2009; Photo documentation of performance; A 2009 Casula Powerhouse Project; Nam Bang! Curated by Dr Boi Tran Huynh-Beattie; Photo: Stuart Horstman




Vessel, © Mai Nguyen-Long 2013, avian mesh, used clothes, fabric, found objects, maps, beads, organic material, papier mache, 65 x 77 x 128 cm. See below for more about this solo show at Wollongong Art Gallery curated by Gina Fairley.

MAI NGUYEN-LONG Eco Art 30 May 2015 FNLe



Think Playground | Sân chơi trong Thành phố

Recycle play equipments
Thiết bị sân chơi từ vật liệu tái chế

Ý tưởng chính :

Vật liệu thải trong công nghiệp có thể được sử dụng lại và tái tạo thành các đồ chơi. Những vật liệu này có ưu điểm độ bền cao, có thể sử dụng như các mô đun để sang tạo ra nhiều mẫu phối hợp và hình thức khác nhau. Nhược điểm là chất liệu chưa thực sự phù hợp với trẻ em, cần nhiều gia công (làm nhẵn, phẳng, bịt các phần cắt nhọn.., sơn lại..), phải sử dụng nhiều thiết bị để gia công (các loại máy cắt, máy khoan, máy hàn, máy mài…)

Vật liệu thường dùng : lốp xe, palet thanh, palet tấm (gỗ thong, gỗ keo), dây thừng, chai nhựa, lò xo từ ô tô cũ, các thiết bị trong ô tô xe máy bỏ đi…

Phương pháp làm việc :

Bước 1 : Từ các nghiên cứu hiện trạng khu vực định làm sân chơi, kiến trúc sư đưa ra các phác thảo thiết kế phù hợp, đảm bảo các yếu tố :
– Sáng tạo (tìm kiếm các hình thức mới)
– Không gian và chi tiết thách thức, gây hứng thú, tò mò cho trẻ em
– Kết cấu và sử dụng an toàn
– Sử dụng các vật liệu đang có tại xưởng
– Thi công lắp đặt đơn giản, dễ bảo trì

Bước 2 : KTS đưa ra phương án và kế hoạch thi công :
– Tính toán và tập hợp vật liệu
– Kiểm tra chất lượng vật liệu và đưa ra phương án gia công phù hợp
– Bàn bạc và phân chia công việc
– Tham khảo ý kiến từ cộng đồng và trẻ em trong khu vực, liên tục điều chỉnh cho phù hợp.

Bước 3 : Vừa thi công vừa thử nghiệm và sửa đổi linh hoạt

Phạm Đam Ca

“Eco” đối với tôi không chỉ là ở việc sử dụng nguyên vật liệu thân thiện với môi trường, không dừng lại ở câu chuyện hoà nhập và bảo vệ thiên nhiên xung quanh ta, cũng không chỉ là việc thay đổi về nhận thức của con người về những gì đã và đang diễn ra trong thời gian gần đây (vd: biến đổi khí hậu)

Những kinh nghiệm thực tế qua nhiều dự án trưng bày và giới thiệu văn hoá, di sản (vật thể và phi vật thể) đã tác động rất lớn tới nhận thức của tôi về văn hoá, đặc biệt là văn hoá Việt Nam trong bối cảnh toàn cầu hoá hiện nay. Bên cạnh đó, các hoạt động giáo dục và đào tạo thiết kế tại nhiều trường ở Việt Nam cho tôi có cơ hội để nhận diện và dần định hình mối quan tâm đặc biệt của mình tới yếu tố con người – hiểu theo nghĩa là chủ thể của môi trường văn hoá tại cộng đồng mà họ sinh sống.

Với hiểu biết hạn chế của mình, tôi tin rằng bất cứ ai cũng có những phẩm chất nhất định về sáng tạo và thẩm mỹ. Và rằng bất cứ ai, dù xuất thân như thế nào cũng đều có những ký ức và trải nghiệm văn hoá với nơi mình sinh ra và trưởng thành. Những yếu tố này có thể phai nhạt theo môi trường và điều kiện sống nhưng sẽ không mất đi.

Bởi thế, nếu như chúng ta có thể khơi gợi những hạt nhân tiềm ẩn trên nơi mỗi cá nhân, giúp họ nhận ra giá trị của mình, của cộng đồng mình đã sinh ra và đang sinh sống, những người này sẽ ý thức được vai trò và trách nhiệm của mình. Trước hết là ở việc họ sẽ tự hào và thích thú giới thiệu văn hoá của họ một cách chân thực và sinh động nhất. Sau đó họ tìm cách để bảo vệ nó bằng những hành động thiết thực và góp phần vào việc thay đổi ý thức và thái độ của cộng đồng với thiên nhiên và môi trường văn hoá.

Trên quan điểm ấy, đề xuất của tôi với dự án Ecoart lần này sẽ là Thể nghiệm một quá trình nhận thức và giới thiệu văn hoá của một cá nhân cụ thể thông qua giáo dục.

Kết quả của nó có thể rất đa chiều và linh hoạt. Nếu ta nhìn nhận một quá trình, đó là sẽ một serie tư liệu (vật thể và phi vật thể) về con đường nhận thức (và có thể không nhận thức) của cá nhân ấy. Còn nếu là một giới thiệu văn hoá, đó có thể là một trình diễn mang tính nhất thời, cũng có thể là một tác phẩm cố định và có khả năng nhân bản. Tôi không muốn kết luận hay tự giới hạn khi mọi việc chưa bắt đầu.

Về phương pháp làm việc, tôi sẽ lựa chọn và làm việc cùng với 2 học viên của mình, họ sẽ làm việc cùng nhau hay độc lập nhau, tôi để ngỏ câu hỏi này.
Quy trình làm việc về cơ bản sẽ như sau:

Trong giai đoạn đầu, chúng tôi sẽ cùng nhau thảo luận, khoanh vùng đối tượng và lên kế hoạch. Công tác nghiên cứu, điền dã thu thập tư liệu và sau đó là phân loại và xử lý (nhóm tư liệu này) sẽ chiếm phần lớn thời gian của giai đoạn này.

Một khi đã xác định được nội dung và chủ đề văn hoá phù hợp, chúng tôi sẽ lên kế hoạch chi tiết hơn để tiến hành các thử nghiệm và xác định các bước tiếp theo.

Những cuộc gặp gỡ và chia sẻ ý tưởng và những dự kiến nghệ thuật với các nhóm nghệ sĩ khác trong suốt quá trình của dự án cũng sẽ là một cơ hội rất tốt để chúng tôi học hỏi và tháo gỡ các vấn đề của mình.

Ilza Burchett

As an artist I am moved on a profound, existential level, to think about, focus on and express in my work the human bond with the Earth, our bounding and at the same time unbounded and natural cosmic belonging to it, our bond to our places of birth and our ability to develop deep connections to the places we live in, or traverse in the course of our lives.

From that perspective, I came to articulate my art through what I think is the unique purity, simplicity and concreteness of a line — drawn by the human hand — as a specific signifier of the human touch and existence; and as an abstract — intellectually derived — signifier of our awareness of the ideas of connectivity, finity and infinity.


Ilza  Burchett  ,  Infinity  series  (Numbers:1,2,3),  2015,  oil  on  linen


I would like to think this ECO project abstractly in these terms, but more specifically, in terms of my understanding of the basis of the cultural connectivity between peoples, through the particular daily craft and some artistic activities and practices. I am particularly drawn to cloth-weaving as an inspiration, which activity by its nature connects different peoples as if with the same thread. A thread for me is a metaphor for the material expression of the abstract idea of a line.

I would like to engage in exploring the Muong’s community traditional and contemporary usages of natural materials in cloth-weaving and especially to research the derivation and usage of natural dyes and natural fibres. To that end I would welcome and appreciate the possibility of a practical collaboration and workshop(s), demonstration(s) by local practitioners, of the dye extraction, colouring applications and the derivations and usage of natural fibres.

Depending on the results of this research, I would like to work specifically with locally derived and produced dyes and fibres, or / and, with otherwise available natural art materials like natural pigments, natural resins, bees wax, soil, rocks, Do paper, silk, and so on. It is likely that all the research material and art by me for this project will be presented in the form of a collection of works, or as an installation.

Though on a modest scale, perhaps the results of this process might inspire through sharing experience with other artists to look at ways of rediscovery and perhaps a discovery of innovative environmentally friendly artistic practices, with the aim of minimizing the carbon footprint of art production.

I believe that every little bit of an effort in this direction counts and that learning anew never stops…


Ilza  Burchett,  Infinity  Series,1,  2015,  97cm  x130cm,  oil  on  linen



Ilza  Burchett,  Infinity  Series,  2,  2015,  97cm  x  130cm,  oil  on  linen



Ilza  Burchett,  Infinity  Series,  3,  2015,  97cm  x  130cm,  oil  on  linen

Asherah Cinnamon

Asherah Cinnamon
Maine, USA

As a sculptor and installation/performance artist my work reflects my values and ethics as a Feminist and as a woman of Eastern European Jewish heritage. For this reason, and because I love the forest I live in, I have used primarily natural (local, sustainably harvested tree branches) and repurposed/recycled materials in my work. I am interested in addressing and healing the emotional and environmental hurts that human beings and the earth have endured. My work is often conceptual in its beginnings and frequently involves interaction with the public, collaboration with other artists, or activities designed to build community among a group of people.

In “Friendship in Hard Times” (approximately 5 meters x 5 meters x 2 meters high) I worked with students to collect plastic bags and make them into braids, which I wrapped around branches, creating 6 sculptures for an installation. Most of the braiding I did myself, but the project began with the young people. Each of the 6 pieces used more than 300 meters of braids, recycling hundreds of plastic bags, while teaching creativity and the value and usefulness of recycling.

“Shema:Listen” (4 meters long and more than 1.5 meters wide) was constructed collaboratively with Australian artist, Nikki Green. It has in it much conceptual significance regarding the Unity of people with each other and the earth. We then invited people who were working in the area to make a procession with the finished work and launch it into a nearby lake. They were so happy to be invited to join in the project that they sang songs all the way down the road. The work floated in the lake all summer, for the public to see as they paddled past it in their small boats.

“Dwelling Place: Sukkah” (5 meters x 5 meters x 3 meters high) was designed and constructed by me in reusable sections, for the purpose of bringing people together for celebratory meals and gatherings inside it, at different University and college campuses, during the Autumn every year. It will be installed this year at its 4th venue. The Festival of Sukkot, which it celebrates, focuses on issues of homelessness and the need for human beings to connect with the earth.

In “Tree Chair” and “Crone” the urban dweller has the opportunity to feel what it is like to sit in a tree.

Other work may be seen on my website where public art projects are explained and illustrated in more detail.

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