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Mentally disabled children showcase artistic abilities in Ho Chi Minh City

Friday, March 22, 2019, 22:11 GMT+7
Mentally disabled children showcase artistic abilities in Ho Chi Minh City
Visitors to the exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City, March 19, 2019. Photo: Tien Vu / Tuoi Tre

An annual art exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City showcases artwork and handicrafts made by children with special needs from a charity center in central Vietnam. 

“Mot ngay vui,” literally meaning "A Happy Day," began on March 17 and will last until March 24 at Toong co-working space in District 1.

From intricate paintings to handcrafted goods, such as sweets and joss sticks, the mentally disabled children from Tinh Truc Gia (Peaceful Bamboo Family) – a center for disadvantaged children aged 12 to 18 in the central city of Hue – are proving that art is truly universal.

Adding to the unique artistic expression on display at the event is the fact that the organization chose to use only organic materials for the art and has even gone so far as to use only biodegradable paper bags in order to minimize the use of single-use plastic ones and thus help protect the environment.

Goods made by children with special needs from Peaceful Bamboo Family are available for purchase. Photo: Tien Vu / Tuoi Tre

Goods made by children with special needs from Peaceful Bamboo Family are available for purchase. Photo: Tien Vu / Tuoi Tre

The water color paintings on display were a particular highlight, earning acclaim from visitors for the sophisticated detail the artists poured into each piece, with some spending as long as three years perfecting their work. 

While Peaceful Bamboo Family children have become extremely skilled artists over the past few years, many did not even know what colors were when they first came to the center, according to Thanh Phuong, head of the center’s emotional education unit, which organizes the exhibition.

“The kids only drew black and white pictures,” Phuong said. 

“There were times when some even ruined their own paintings in the finishing stages before they learned how to control their strong emotions and energy.”

She added that it is very challenging for the children to sit down and work on the different aspects of each painting, from the first strokes on an empty canvas to developing different layers and colors in their pieces.

“No price tag can be put on the love, sincerity, innocence, and the story behind each of these paintings,” Phuong commented.

Members of Peaceful Bamboo Family at different stages of painting the pictures. Photo: Tien Vu / Tuoi Tre

Members of Peaceful Bamboo Family at different stages of painting the pictures. Photo: Tien Vu / Tuoi Tre

Tuyet Nhung, a visitor to the exhibition, shared her amazement at the skill of the young artists, particularly considering their disabilities.

“I admire the instructors, teachers, and volunteers at Peaceful Bamboo Family because they have enough patience and love to accompany and help those who many think are unable to participate in society,” she said.

Peaceful Bamboo Family was established in 2009 by Ha Vinh Tho, a Vietnamese expert in special education living in Sweden and director of the Gross National Happiness Center in Bhutan.

Children at Peaceful Bamboo Family engage in activities, study, and work in an environment that encourages both physical and mental development.

There are six different workshops where the students can join in water color painting, dried fruit making, organic gardening, baking, cooking, and joss stick production.

The primary education level classes are for students aged 12 to 18 that have the desire to learn.

Here are some photos of the exhibition.

 

 

 

 

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