A church-run exhibition of images of Vietnamese women and Mother Mary aims to inspire visitors with motherly love.
Some 80 paintings and sculptures by 56 Catholic and non-Catholic artists were on display at the Pastoral Center in Hue from August 3-9 and at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang from August 12-16.
The exhibition themed “Returning to Mother” was organized by the Hue archdiocesan committee on culture and a Dominican-run art group from Ho Chi Minh City.
Father Philip Hoang Linh, head of the committee, said the event aimed to show the realities of mothers’ daily lives, helping visitors feel the love and holy beauty of Mother Mary, who is believed to have appeared at the site of the shrine in 1798 to Catholics suffering religious persecution.
Father Linh said the event also was aimed at pilgrims celebrating the Feast of the Assumption of Mary from August 13-15 at the national shrine.
“Mother Mary is still close to us to journey with her children following God and going to Heaven,” the pastor of Tay Loc parish said.
He said the paintings and sculptures depict Mother Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of La Vang and Vietnamese mothers with motherly love, family life, prayers, happiness, and thanksgiving.
He said the painting “Pregnant Mother” commemorates Mary visiting Elizabeth, while “Mothers Holding Children” commemorates Mary holding the infant Jesus. Other paintings remind people of Bethlehem, the Holy Family, and the Assumption of Mary.
Artist Nguyen Luong Sang from Quang Binh province, who painted “Me Bien Troi” (Mother of the Sea and Sky), said: “Mother Mary is a fulcrum point leading people to overcome dangers and problems in daily life.”
Painter Peter Ha Truong, 65, said he had painted Mother Mary in traditional costume holding Jesus in a countryside house to remind visitors of their mothers’ love and care.
Thomas Tran Phuoc Dai, a visitor from Da Nang, said: “The exhibition impresses me with the great beauty of motherhood. The paintings on motherly love give me peace and encourage me to turn to Mother Mary.”
Another visitor, Maria Nguyen Thi Nga, 37, said the exhibition had brought her to Mother Mary through images of mothers’ daily lives.
“I believe that now my mother is with Mother Mary in Heaven because Mother Mary loves all people,” said Nga, whose mother died last year. “I believe I will also be with them after death.”
Father Linh, 41, said the paintings are each sold for 10-50 million dong ($430 to $2,150) and organizers will use 50 percent of the money for building a new basilica in the shrine.
Tens of thousands of pilgrims including followers of other faiths visit the 221-year-old shrine each year and attend special celebrations for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.