Walls along several streets of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City have been given a touch-up with graffiti and mural paintings featuring rhinos, as part of a campaign to protect the endangered animal.
The campaign, named Rhinos Street Art Painting Project, is run by the Center of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment (CHANGE) and is backed by the local Youth Union and WildAct Vietnam, a non-government conservation charity.
The project gave the rhino-themed facelifts to walls in seven wards – Da Kao, Cau Kho, Nguyen Thai Binh, Pham Ngu Lao, Tan Dinh, Ben Nghe and Ben Thanh.
Eleven artists, including British, French and Vietnamese volunteers, have completed 17 graffiti, mural and stencil paintings on 12 walls, featuring rhinos in different postures with a variety of colors and styles.
The paintings also carry messages to save and protect rhinos.
Thoi Thi Chau Nhi, the project manager, said the artists had received great support from District 1 authorities and the ward-level Youth Unions, which had agreed to keep the walls painted for a long time in order to help the campaign reach out to more people.
The international volunteers have had to work under baking hot weather, but the love and support from local residents have greatly motivated them all, Nhi said.
Florian Nguyen, a French-Vietnamese painter who now works in Ho Chi Minh City, said he had joined the project with great inspiration.
“Many people were intrigued by the paintings with their meaningful messages,” he told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“They smiled at and greeted us, and some even treated the whole team to cakes and tea.”
On March 21, the project welcomed a special guest, Steph Lysaght, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Hanoi.
Lysaght joined hands with the artists to paint the street walls in an alley at 60 Le Thi Rieng Street and another one at 612 Vo Van Kiet Street, CHANGE reported on its Facebook page.
Steph Lysaght joins in the paint job. Photo: Facebook/CHANGEvn
The British diplomat has given his full support to the project and also expressed his strong concern over the illegal trade and consumption of wild animals, particularly rhinos, in Vietnam.
Vietnam is one of the world's major transit points and consumers of trafficked ivory and rhino horn.
Vietnamese authorities last year destroyed more than 2.2 metric tons of seized elephant ivory and rhino horn, delivering the zero-tolerance message the country has for illegal wildlife trafficking.
Have a look at the rhino paintings below.
A French painter works under the hot sun. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A rhino painting on a wall next to Nguyen Van Cu Bridge. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Artists discuss ideas for their paintings. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A foreign tourists takes a photo of a rhino wall painting. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Members of the Youth Union work on the project. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Photo: Tuoi Tre