At the annual art exhibit running in Ho Chi Minh City until Jan 16 to raise funds for needy artists, a painting by a local artist fetched a whopping US$4,000, which makes an auspicious start to the auction. [/caption] The costly oil painting on a young woman by artist Nguyen Trung is the first to be sold at the “Nhan ai” (Compassion) exhibit, which opened at the HCMC Fine Arts Association on Jan 10. The buyer is a Singaporean who just arrived in HCMC. At last year’s exhibit, another painting on a young woman gifted by Trung was also the first to be sold. The artist’s works on women have always greatly appealed to art enthusiasts. The second painting, by artist Vu Ha Nam, sold at this year’s exhibit depicts Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th-6th century CE. He is traditionally credited with transmitting “Ch’an”, or “Zen” in Japanese, to China and was father to Zen Buddhism. The exhibit also showcases paintings by other celebrated artists, including Uyen Huy and Limkhim Katy.