Kim Hoa TRAM
Pine with cranes dancing in the snow, dance in motion 2000
ink and pigments on paper
137.1 x 69.2 cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the NGV Foundation with the assistance of The Marjory and Alexander Lynch Endowment, Governors, 2001
2001.586
© Kim Hoa Tram

Kim Hoa Tram

Pine with cranes dancing in the snow, dance in motion

Kim Hoa Tram was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1959 to a family originally from Fujian province in China. He migrated to Australia in 1984. In his art, he draws inspiration from Zen Buddhism and from his roots in the Chinese tradition, its art and culture, especially Chinese ink painting and calligraphy.

The beauty of the landscape and the natural world has been an important subject in Chinese painting for thousands of years. Traditionally Chinese artists have painted from memory and experience rather than from nature itself. In turn, paintings of the landscape have been used by scholars and others to meditate on the beauty of nature, and to find calm and peace.

The foreground of Pine with cranes dancing in the snow, dance in motion is dominated by an old pine tree that reaches diagonally across the composition. Its roughly textured bark and dramatic bursts of dark pine needles contrast with and frame a pale wintry landscape. The background is painted in soft blue-grey washes, an area of white in the centre providing a luminous focal point for the delicate dance of some elegant cranes. 

Cranes and pines are auspicious symbols in Chinese art and culture. They are best known for representing longevity or long life.

Classroom discussion:

  • Identify and describe at least three ways that the artist uses brush and ink in this painting and explain the effects created with each technique.
  • Where can you see visual contrasts in this painting? How do these contrasts contribute to the meaning and ideas communicated?

References:

M. A. Pang, Mountains and Streams: Chinese Paintings from the Asian Collection (exh. cat.). National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2006.
M. A. Pang, Spring flowers, Autumn Grass: The Spirit of Nature in Asian Art (exh. cat.). National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2002.