As a communist country, Vietnam isn’t always the easiest place to find publicly displayed art, especially modern or controversial work. However, the country seems to be changing – and Ho Chi Minh City is leading the way. Here are some of the best places to see public art in the city.
Located in District 1, the 3A Alternative Art Area is comprised of a few abandoned warehouses that have been converted into artistic hubs. There are a number of galleries, boutiques and cafés, all devoted to channelling the arts. The buildings themselves have been decorated with graffiti and are often repainted by local artists. Many host events as well, including live music, fashion shows, launches and even talk shows.
Saigon Outcast describes itself as a ‘creative space, magical craft beer garden and graffiti paradise’. This events venue hosts everything from rock climbing and movie evenings to life-drawing classes and acoustic nights. One of the most striking things about Saigon Outcast, though, is the graffiti covering many of the surfaces. This place has some of the most impressive wall art in the city.
Home to a studio, library and exhibition space, ZeroStation is a hotspot for new contemporary art and a creative space for a number of up-and-coming resident artists. The complex has been known to host film workshops and book launches, along with art exhibitions, with an overarching aim to ‘enrich and sophisticate the dialogues between the contemporary life and art’.
This is one of the older galleries in the city, established in 2009, but it still offers plenty of contemporary artwork. Pieces from many emerging new artists and well-known names alike can be seen, and a number of exhibitions are held throughout the year. The work is often created by Vietnamese locals and has a message behind the brushstrokes. For example, Craig Thomas Gallery recently featured a number of paintings by Pham Huy Thong that depicted ‘the plight of rural farmers’ in Vietnam.