Artist group shows love for Hanoi through sketches

Tuesday, 2020-04-07 18:05:04
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Architect Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, leader of the Urban Sketchers Hanoi group (Photo:
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NDO – When COVID-19 broke out in Hanoi, the artists of Urban Sketchers Hanoi launched a challenge over 2 weeks to draw sketches themed “NCOVI” as an effort to join hands with the community in the fight against the epidemic. 'Thoi Nay' (President Day), a publication of Nhan Dan (People) newspaper held an interview with architect Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, leader of the Urban Sketchers Hanoi group, to hear more about the project.

Question: Can you tell us what made Urban Sketchers Hanoi launch this special challenge?

Architect Tran Thi Thanh Thuy: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, our group members have stayed at home and refrained from going outside. We cannot gather at public locations to make our sketches as usual. However, we have still maintained the practice of drawing, which helps us to escape boredom while providing us with a source of inspiration. Because of this, we launched a movement challenging our followers to show our love for sketches and contribute to raising public awareness of COVID-19 prevention and control.

What do you think about submissions of the challenge?

With a very short period of time, only two weeks, we received up to 200 entries from our group members of all ages. These entries conveyed many meaningful messages and generated determination and motivation in their viewers. They also fuelled positive energy for our members and followers. We plan to auction off several selected artworks and contribute the proceeds to the fund for COVID-19 prevention and control.

Your group has previously launched several projects which have succeeded in creating a positive social impact, including the publication of two art books titled 'Hanoi's Old Quarter - Sketches and Memories’ and ‘Hanoi’s Old Apartment Blocks - Sketches and Memories’. Can you tell us more about the background and mission of Urban Sketchers Hanoi?

Since Urban Sketchers Hanoi was found, we aimed to gather those who have love for Hanoi and its beauty and wish to preserve the city’s time-honoured values through sketches – a type of diary through drawings. Our operation aims to help our members learn more about the culture, history and architecture of buildings in Hanoi as well as pervade our love for the capital city through sketches.

We have made sketches recording old buildings, street corners, natural landscapes, lifestyles and cultural values, some of which are gradually fading away as a consequence of the integration and urbanisation processes in Vietnam.

Members of Urban Sketchers Hanoi posing with their sketches at an outdoor activity

Can you tell us about how long it often takes to complete an art book and the challenges your group faces during project implementation?

It often takes us one to two years to collect enough material for the book. The sketches are carefully selected from entries sent in by our group members so that the publication can offer readers the most interesting views from artists of all ages. We also include charming stories and academic articles to enrich the book’s content. They all require a lot of time and hard work in order to ensure the quality of the publication.

Can you sum up the notable achievements of Urban Sketchers Hanoi?

Since 2017, we have implemented a number of projects, hosted exhibitions featuring the artworks of our members, and published annual artbooks. We have received positive appreciation from the community, social organisations, and international friends. We have been presented with the Bui Xuan Phai – For the Love of Hanoi Award in recognition of our efforts to promote the Hanoi’s image.

Can you tell us about your future projects?

We plan to publish a book on French and Western architecturally styled buildings in Hanoi, which have a strong attachment to the history and development of the capital city.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Selected submissions sent to the challenge launched by the Urban Sketchers Hanoi:

A sketch by Tran Thi Thanh Thuy features a family exercising in front of the television.

A pedestrian walks alongside Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi in this sketch by Sao Nguyen.

'We stay at work for you, please stay home for us' has been the motto of many healthcare professionals since the pandemic started, as shown in this sketch by Dang Truong Giang.

As schools in Vietnam are closed due to COVID-19, artist Tran Thi Thanh Thuy depicts the new reality of classes taught via online platforms.

‘Spraying disinfectant’ by nine-year-old Nguyen Ha Minh Anh