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Published: November 29th 2007
Kristine on her bike
She was just riding by and stopped so I could take her photo.
Art Galleries are a dime a dozen in Hanoi. Mostly I just pass by and if I do stop to take a peek, it doesn’t take me long to realize I don’t belong there. Most of the art is hard to understand. Frankly, most art and artists turn me off.
Before I came to Hanoi, Past District Governor Don Drennan gave me a call and told me to be sure to look up Winfield’s home town artist who owns an art store in Hanoi. Her name was Suzanne Lecht and her store was called “Art Vietnam Gallery” and he was told she had a great store. It was just an unbelievable circumstance that in this little hotel, one among hundreds in Hanoi lived the artist in residence, Solo Exhibitor, Kristine McCarroll. I believe we met the first day I was here. She confirmed that indeed there was a Suzanne Lecht who owned an art store, the best in Hanoi and that I would have to wait awhile to meet her because she was vacationing in the Bahamas.
Kristine McCarroll was the real story for me. I would see her running around Hoan Kiem Lake. Just from
Converse Tennis Shoes
She says they are cheap in Vietnam.
watching her run I could tell that this person always gives her best. I also noticed that she biked to work. About the only thing, maybe, we really have in common. She does wear Converse Tennis Shoes. Other than that what else could there be for me with an artist?
One day she met me in the hotel and handed me an invitation to her art exhibit called: “The Good Ole Times in the Colonies.” It didn’t take me a moment to know what her exhibit was all about. Like Kristine, I had run across the fascinating world of old French Post Cards sent from the colonies to the home country. They are kind of a history in themselves. The French used postcards to peek the interest of people back home about this exotic land and many other stories. I have even seen postcards with pictures of guillotined heads. A way of showing French justice I guess. Many of the cards just depicted the Colonial way of life. Depending which side you were on, very charming indeed.
What Kristine did was take these postcards and do what all artists do, enhance them, and make the real story. Not
Awaiting their fate
The tried to poison a French Garrison and were waiting to be executed.
in an abstract fashion but just good art. Something an old Kansas farmer could understand. Maybe too obvious. The assistant art director of the gallery told me that a Frenchman toured the exhibit and told her: “We know we were bastards, you just don’t have to make it so obvious.”
You can learn much more about Kristine from her web page. Go to: www.kristinemccarroll.com Another interesting web page is Suzanne Letch’s Art Vietnam Gallery at: http://www.artvietnamgallery.com/index.html
For more of a look at the old French postcards from the colonies just type in on google: "French postcards from French Indochina. They are worth a lot of money. Kristine's painting go for around $8,000 dollars. They are selling fast.
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