The Goat in paintings by Le Tri Dung

(VOVworld) - Originally following the topics of war and revolution, 20 years ago, painter Le Tri Dung turned his interest to drawing 12 zodiac animals. He has become successful with paintings of horses. For the lunar new year 2015, Dung continued to draw and he has produced more than 50 paintings of goats in different patterns and shapes as special gifts for Tet holidays. 
The Goat in paintings by Le Tri Dung - ảnh 1
Painter Le Tri Dung (Photo: VOV)

One corner of a small painting workshop full of brushes, easels and dusty ancient objects shines with a collection of paintings of zodiac animals. Le Tri Dung said the main characteristic of Tet paintings is that they must be painted in bright colors which symbolize happiness and hope, and the topic reflects people’s wish for a prosperous and fertile new year. The collection of Dung’s paintings of goats for this year also follows this trend: “Goats are so close to the daily lives of Vietnamese people. The goat is gentle and a grass-eating animal. There is a saying that “the rich keep dogs and the poor raise goats” which shows the importance of goats in improving the material life of people. Along with chickens, dogs, pigs, horses and buffaloes, the goat was traditionally one of the most breeded animals in Vietnam. The image of a goat is attached to fertility and vitality. The billy-goat symbolizes fertility while a nanny goat shows moderation and intelligence”.
The Goat in paintings by Le Tri Dung - ảnh 2
The five goats

Dung has brought all of those ideas to his paintings. Most notably in Dung’s paintings are ones about family of goats, a goat mother and her child, and a couple of goats evoking the atmosphere of happiness and fertility. The strength and power are shown in the paintings of a top-ranking general Goat or a billy-goat standing undauntedly on the top of the mountain. Dung said  that besides the snake, dog and mouse, the goat is one zodiac animal which is difficult to paint, so he must spend a lot of time thinking of how to make his special and vivid: “It is difficult to create shape for the goat in paintings. But with the beard and horn, it is a little bit easier than the mouse and the dog. Of my paintings of goats, the painting on those with the five elements of the universe, representing wood, earth, water, fire and metal, took me the most time. Instead of drawing one, I have to paint five goats with different colors and shapes representing the five elements. I also included the factors of yin and yang to bring an atmosphere of happiness and fertility to the painting”.

The image of goats in the hands of the talented painter is changeable and vivid in different positions and patterns, thanks to the painter’s creativity in using the symbols of 28 constellations, yin and yang and the traditional brocade patterns of ethnic minority groups in Vietnam, such as the Mong, Dao, and Thai. Despite following the general characteristics of Tet paintings, contemporary painters use the language of modern fine arts: “In modern times, we can’t apply the ancient painting style to Tet paintings because people’s taste for art has changed in accordance with time. Moreover, we have also learned the new global trend in fine arts, so various styles such as cubism, surrealist, and abstract are applied to Tet paintings. Each painting is a real fine art work”.

The painting of a father goat and his little son on his back was painted by Tri Dung based on the hot reality TV show about fatherhood called “Dad, where are we going?”. Goats in most of Dung’s paintings this year are painted white as the painter said the year 2015 is the year of “Gold in Sand” which means a metal element is hidden inside sand, according to the five-element theory.

The Goat in paintings by Le Tri Dung - ảnh 3
The painting "Dad, where are we going?".
Five goats in five colors: yellow, green, red, white, black representing the five elements of the universe; the white goat with the leaf pattern on his back; a couple of goats with the symbols of yin and yang and traditional embroidery, all reflect the painter’s wish for a fertile and prosperous year: “2015 is forecast to be a challenging year for the economy and other social aspects. So the image of goats in my paintings must show the spirit of this year. The image of a goat standing firmly on the top of the windy mountain not only depicts prosperity but also great determination and the strong will to overcome every difficulty and obstacles in life”.