Meet Lap Ngo

Lap Ngo, Founding Partner of Beautiful Africa™, A New Way To Look At Africa™“Africa has been my home and source of inspiration for nearly three decades. I was fascinated and captivated by the extraordinary richness of its landscape and the beauty of its engaging people. Over the years, as I traveled from the Sahara desert to the arid tundra of the ancient Atlas mountains and down to the lush green tropics of West Africa, I discovered the essence of Africa and its inner beauty that transcended beyond the picturesque images. Using all the means of my cross cultural background and various technical experiences, I attempted to capture not only the colors, light and expressions of my subjects, but also the very essential goal in my art: I want to freeze in time the atmosphere and the soul of Africa in my painting.” – Lap Ngo, International Artist

Lap Ngo, International Artist.  Born in Northern Vietnam in 1945, Lap Ngo’s love for art began at the early age of six where he spent his childhood roaming freely in the famous islands of his native coastal town of Halong Bay.  But, as war and poverty ravaged his country, he and his family were forced to flee first to Southern Vietnam, then to the neighboring countries of Laos and Thailand where he spent his early adult life practicing the basics of drawing and painting.

At the height of the Vietnam War, Lap Ngo saved enough money from several art exhibits to purchase a one-way ticket to France.  He departed from Vientiane, Laos in 1968 leaving behind his family and the Southeast Asia he loved.  In Paris, 1968, he was admitted to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts and began his studies  in painting and engraving.

In 1972, he obtained a Masters Degree in Fine Arts  and for the next three years continued his studies in print-making technique.  During his time in Paris, Lap Ngo participated and won several prizes in yearly exhibitions at the Salon des Artistes Français and the Salon d’Automne.  It was during his travels to many of Europe’s National museums that he first became mesmerized by the translucent serenity of the 14th century Flemish paintings of Jan Van Eyck as well as the detailed work of the Italian Renaissance painters such as Botticelli and Raphael.

Shortly after completing his university studies, Lap Ngo  moved to the United States and began teaching art classes for the Northern Virginia Community College from 1975 to 1978.

In 1978, Lap Ngo moved to the Western African nation of Niger and began giving private art classes to the international community there.  He became the first teacher to introduce wood cutting and etching techniques in his seminars and workshops for Nigerian artists.  His success as a teacher led to a one-man art exhibit for visiting former Vice-president of the United States, Walter Mondale, his wife and the accompanying White House staff.

Lap Ngo spent the next 24 years living and traveling throughout North and West Africa in countries such as Cameroon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Tunisia.  He continued to give private art classes to the international communities of each country and held yearly art exhibits sponsored by various institutions including the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), the European Economic Community (EEC), Ernst & Young and the respective Ministries of Culture and Fine Arts.  As a result, he developed an extensive repertoire of art clients in Western Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia,  Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

Lap Ngo’s paintings have often been described as “versatile yet peaceful and luminescent.”  His love for details and serene atmosphere in his work can be attributed to his Southeast Asian roots.  Working mostly with oils, watercolors and the old European technique of egg tempera on wooden panels, his paintings include portraits of nomads and luminous landscapes he encountered in his African travels to very surrealistic compositions inspired by the European Masters which he studied during his years in Paris.

Out of Africa since 1996, he now divides his time between the U.S. and the South of France (Provence) where he continues to paint, write, teach, conduct workshops, give lectures and demonstrations.