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Oct 29, 2022 / 13:40

Retired artist with a dream to beautify Hanoi’s alleys

The old painter has dedicated himself to the community for several reasons: making the living space beautiful and helping educate young people about Vietnam’s traditional folk paintings.

An 85-year-old painter works daily to beautify as many alleys as possible in Hanoi, the centuries-long city.  

 Painter Nguyen Trong Nguyen with his mural in Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi: Photos: VTV

In early 2020, he initiated an idea to turn a dirty wall in an alley where he lives, Quynh alley, Hai Ba Trung District, into a vivid mural.

The long wall is covered with Dong Ho and Hang Trong paintings and landscape paintings featuring Saint Giong, Hai Ba Trung Sisters, King Ngo Quyen, King Dinh Tien Hoang, and even lyrics of folk songs and proverbs.

“Art is not a noble endeavor. It is present in daily life and becomes apparent when it is made known to the public,” said the artist who studied at Vietnam University of Fine Arts (formerly Indochina College of Fine Arts in Hanoi), which was initially established in 1925 under French colonial rule.

He is the one who brings arts closer to life to make the alley vivacious, contributing to raising people’s awareness of environmental protection and, moreover, preserving the good values of Dong Ho painting, a painting school on the list to apply for UNESCO’s recognition as intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding.

 Mural at Quynh alley, Hai Ba Trung District.

Nguyen Thi Binh, 88, a resident of Quynh alley, exclaimed that she barely recognized the alley she was born and raised in for years when she returned as it was different from years ago. "The new appearance demonstrates how much effort the painter has put into it," she noted.

Murals of Dong Ho paintings are not only beautiful for residential areas, but they also preserve culture and provide youngsters an insight into the national folk heritage.

In addition, he has assisted other young people in discovering their abilities and getting ready for entrance exams for numerous fine arts and architecture schools. He believed that mastering art would prevent life's bad aspects and that bad behavior would cease once people realized the value of beauty.

The mural is just the initial artwork of the old painter who devoted himself to other works that would change the appearance of alleys in Hanoi.

 Artist Nguyen Trong Nguyen and his paintings.