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Drawing class without sound in Ho Chi Minh City

Sympathizing with the fate of deaf and dumb people, painter Van Y set up a painting class, using brushes and colors to replace sound.

Paint sound with color

Drawing class without sound in Ho Chi Minh City
Drawing class for people with disabilities was established by painter Van Y in Go Vap, Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: Nguyen Vy).

Every Saturday morning, the drawing class in a small alley on Nguyen Kiem Street (Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City) is busy “winding up”. This is a “sound painting” class founded by painter Van Y (72 years old) more than 5 years ago to teach people with disabilities. The class has been recognized by the Fine Arts Association of Ho Chi Minh City.

The students here are all dumb, deaf, and mentally disabled, so although the class always maintains a size of more than 20 students, the atmosphere is extremely quiet. Coming to this class, students were given free drawing tools such as brushes, palettes, etc. to be comfortable and unleash their passion for painting.

From the students’ scribbles, painter Van Y will hold hands, enthusiastically guide, and help them correct to be able to produce a work of art. Many of the students’ paintings have been sold for tens of millions of dong, and students will receive 50% of the proceeds from the sale.

Here, the class starts from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., then teacher Van Y will feed students, take a lunch break, and continue studying until 4 p.m. All activities and class maintenance costs come from 25% of the profits from the sale of paintings or from the teacher’s own pocket. 

Talking about the reason for the burden of the class, Mr. Van Y shared, it all comes from the love of children in difficult circumstances. 5 years ago, as a member of the Mekong art club, painter Van Y experienced many different exhibitions both at home and abroad. However, Mr. Y is always heartbroken about the “soul”, the true meaning of the painting.

In a time when he saw disabled, deaf and mute children who had to make a living by selling lottery tickets, begging on the roadside, loving the hard-working children, unable to find the light for life, Mr. Y immediately brought them home. eager to teach drawing.

“The class is completely free, and there is almost no funding. There are times when it is too difficult, I have to go to the temple to ask for food to feed my children. Sometimes I briefly thought of giving up but remembered the image. the children have to beg, I told myself to try harder”, painter Van Y confided.

At first, because they could not communicate, both teachers and students kept humping, “flapping their arms and legs” to understand each other. Not only that, Mr. Y said, the nature of dumb and deaf people is often very easy to get angry and show off because of long-term inhibitions that can’t be said. So the teacher has to be really patient. 

The class has about 20 students of all ages (Photo: Nguyen Vy).

Up to now, the students have completely changed, becoming happier and more integrated. Whenever there are visitors to visit, everyone is smiling and excited to introduce their work. In the class, the youngest person is 16 years old, the oldest includes 70-year-old grandmothers. 

“Some old students no longer work, so they asked to stay to study and practice drawing to relieve their spirits. Many people stayed so the class was crowded, sometimes students had to sit on the street. Luckily, the class Our school is loved and sympathized by the neighbors,” said Mr. Y.

Not only having fun, the students also have genuine jobs, and have more hope in life. Typically, in the class, there is Mr. Tran Minh Hieu (57 years old, living in District 6) whose family is extremely difficult. He was born deaf and mute, and had to earn a living by various occupations to support his paralyzed elderly mother.

Without the right direction, Mr. Hieu had to struggle to earn every penny every day. Since joining the painting class, he has become happier and more open. Riding an old Wave car, Mr. Hieu hardly missed any class. Because he believes, only color can help him express his dreams.

“Deaf and mute children can still see life”

Painter Van Y hopes the class will be a bridge to bring a better future for the students (Photo: Nguyen Vy).

Reportedly, profits from the sale of paintings will be deducted 25% to support funds for the poor. At first, the practitioners were surprised and protested because they thought they were disabled people and did not understand why they should help others.

At this time, painter Van Y persistently explained: “You are dumb and deaf, but you can still see how beautiful this life is, and still have enough limbs to run, jump, and hold. However, there are people can’t even do those things. So it’s clear that life has more difficult people that we have to help.”

Since then, the whole class agreed, opened many exhibitions for the poor, sold a lot of paintings and deducted hundreds of millions of dong to support those activities. From being uncomfortable, now the students themselves are excited to contribute and often ask and urge Mr. Y when to go to charity again.

The greatest wish of painter Van Y is to find a larger place, so that more people with disabilities can come to study. He always pondered many times when he had to let go, ignoring many disabled people who wanted to join the class, because there was not enough funding and space to maintain. Classes can now only be held one day per week, in a 20 square meter room that Mr. Y has to rent monthly.

“If possible, the children will study many times a week, and participate in many subjects related to sculpture to promote their painting talent,” the artist confided.

It was so hard, but the practitioners loved each other very much and gave warm feelings to those around them. During a visit to a leprosy camp in Di Linh (Lam Dong), the children boldly held hands with patients to share and give gifts, different from their usual shy and withdrawn expression. 

The proceeds from the sale of paintings are deducted 25% for charity (Photo: Nguyen Vy).

In the near future, the “audio painting” class will continue to open an exhibition, selling more than 120 paintings created by artists with disabilities, in order to raise money for orphans because of the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic. 19.

Not only that, recently, the students have just been invited by the Indian Embassy to participate in the painting contest “Art of the Corona time”. In this drawing competition, the class has 2 students entering the inner round of the contest, which are expected to go to India in November to participate in the painting exhibition at the invitation of the Embassy.

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