Tieng Viet
Speech by Prof. Akito Arima
- member of the House of Councilors and formerminister of education, science and technology -
at the opening of the solo exhibition of oil paintings by Nguyen Dinh Dang

October 5, 2001
Sun Azalea Hall, Wako city, Saitama, Japan

Dear Mr. ambassador Vu Dung and Mrs. Vu Dung,
Dear Mr. Arai, head of the Center for Cultural promotion of Wako city,
Dear Dr.Dang,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Dr. Nguyen Dinh Dang is my closest collaborator in physics. Thank to the continuous collaboration with him, I keep publishing scientific papers every year even after I became  minister of education, science and technology, and now member of parliament.

Mr. Dang is a genius.
Already a well-known physicist of high international standard, he knows several languages including English, Russian, French,Italian, his native Vietnamese, ... (turning to Dang):
What other language do you also speak?
(Laugh in the hall)
But he cannot speak Japanese! So I must say that we, Japanese, are also geniuses as we can speak such difficult language.
(Laugh in the hall)

There have been several renowned Japanese physicists such as Dr. Torahiko Terada and Dr. Minoru Oda, who also painted. However, they considered painting only as a hobby, which can helpthem to relax from the stress of their research, heavy duty and administrative work. Their paintings cannot be compared with the works by Mr. Dang,who considers paintings as his second profession. His paintings are much better in artistic quality and professionalism. So, to the question "Can a physicist be an artist?" the answer is complicate, as it depends on the individuals. In the case of Mr. Dang, I can say that he might be a great painter, while he is doing already great contribution to physics. Therefore, my advice to Mr. Dang is:
"Never get involved in politics and administrative work. This would take all of your time." 
(Laugh in the hall)

I like surrealism art. My favorite painter-surrealist is Paul Delvaux with his nude models like statues in the moon light. The works by Mr. Dang are also surrealistic. In some of his paintings such as "Annunciation", one can see the influence by Salvador Dali. However, in his works we can also see the combination of Western, especially French, culture, which he may have got from his ancestors, and Asian culture, especially of his native Vietnamwith thousand years of history and legends.
The paintings by Mr. Dang also tell us that we, people of different nations and different cultures, can live and should live together in peace.

Finally, I would like to wish a great success to this solo show of paintingsby Mr. Dang.
(Applause in the hall)

Prof. Akito Arima gave this speech in both Japanese and English.