As a Japanese artist based in Vietnam since 1995, Saeko Ando studied Som Mai lacquer painting under the tutelage of artist Trinh Tuan, lacquer master Doan Chi Trung and lacquer artisan Lam Huu Chinh. Ando has persevered in the use of natural lacquer, which has become distinctly rarer in recent times in the face of competition from synthetic lacquer. By ensuring the maintenance of this ancient craft in the modern era, she creates her lacquer pieces by integrating tradition with innovation.
Ando worked with several contemporary practitioners and master artisans in Hanoi, Vietnam, to learn a range of processes and techniques essential to the complex craft of lacquer painting. Such as refining raw lacquer, producing them as the base for painting on, the application of gold and silver leaf, pigment and various inlay, and also sanding and polishing the lacquer pieces by hand. In 2000, she was given the honour of being accepted as the first foreign member of the Hanoi Art Association.
For the past 20 years, she has been creating and exhibiting in Vietnam and overseas. She also works as a researcher on lacquer art and done research in Asian countries, including Japan, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. She shares research findings with the public through various lectures and symposia.