Updated  
April, 20 2012 10:23:44

Ethnic people create self-portrait

Us: Photos taken by ethnic people are displayed in an outdoor exhibition.

HA NOI — A photo exhibition in Ha Noi entitled My Culture – Conversations in Open Spaces shows the fruit of a project that allowed ethnic people in Viet Nam to use digital storytelling methods to present themselves and help others see the world through their eyes.

Vividly depicting the daily lives and cultural activities of ethnic peoples, the exhibition is the result of the PhotoVoice project that was conducted by the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) with financial support from CARE and Oxfarm.

"We thought it might be a good idea to let them speak for themselves, in their own words and from their own perspectives," said project manager Luong Minh Ngoc.

The project was launched in the northern mountain provinces of Lao Cai and Yen Bai, in the central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri and in the southern province of Soc Trang. People from nine different ethnic groups, including the Mong Si, Black Mong, Black Dao, Red Dao, Muong, Thai, Pa Co, Van Kieu and Khmer, joined enthusiastically in the programme.

"By joining the PhotoVoice project, many ‘photographers' could discover more about the unique culture of their own ethnic groups. Once they took pride in it, they could preserve it," said iSEE Director Le Quang Binh.

Many of the photographers affirmed that they learned more about their cultures and customs after joining the programme.

"I used to wear our traditional costume without awareness about the meaning of every embroidered pattern on it," said Phan Lo May, a young Red Dao woman in the tourist town of Sa Pa. "By taking photos focusing on the local brocade embroidery, I now know the meanings of all the patterns."

May also shared the difficulties that she faced in the shooting process.

"I had to persuade people appearing in the photos about the programme's meaning as they figured the photos had a profit motive," she said.

Ly Thi Hong Kieu, a Khmer woman in Soc Trang Province, had another difficulty. She had to look after her grandchild at the same time as taking photos.

 

Perusal of life: Visitors enjoy the photos and accompanying stories. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
"I was very embarrassed during the first days when others look at me curiously, thinking ‘what is this old woman doing?'. Sometimes I had to carry my grandchild on one hand while using the other to take photos."

Ngoc herself spent hours convincing men in Nam Bung Commune, in Yen Bai Province's Van Chan District, to let their wives and daughters join in the programme. In their opinions, the women shouldn't do anything other than take care of the household and farm work.

"I really feel regret that I haven't planned to visit ethnic village before coming to Viet Nam," said Chris Taes, a Belgian tourist who viewed the exhibition. "I can see the rich culture of Vietnamese ethnic groups, and I've found the exhibition is very interesting, not for the beautiful photos but for its meaning."

The exhibition continues at Ly Thai To Park on Dinh Tien Hoang Street through Sunday. A photobook showcasing images captured during the project is expected to be published in the coming months. — VNS

Send Us Your Comments:
Name:
Your E-mail address:
Title:
 

VietNamNews may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.

Highlight

Commando recalls sinking of US aircraft carrier Commando recalls sinking of US aircraft carrier

Seventy-nine-year-old former Vietnamese commando Lam Son Nao still feels uncomfortable whenever he thinks about the moment he tried to recover 84 kilos of explosives that had been left near the USNS Core aircraft carrier.

When festivals lose sight of the people 1    When festivals lose sight of the people

Last year I visited George Town in Penang, Malaysia. I was excited to find a lot of similarities between it and my hometown, Hue.

Cultural events lead to fireworks competition 1    Cultural events lead to fireworks competition

An International cuisine event will be held in the central city as a lead up to this weekend's scheduled seventh Da Nang International Fireworks Competition, a contest between teams representing five countries.

Da Nang to monitor trees with GIS 1    Da Nang to monitor trees with GIS

Da Nang plans to use the geographic information system (GIS) in the city's public tree management work, the municipal People's Committee spokesman Vo Van Thuong said.

Man detained for trafficking 15 monkeys Man detained for trafficking 15 monkeys

The Nghe An Province's environmental crimes division said this morning that it has detained a man for allegedly trafficking monkeys following a tip-off.

    Outlook

    Outlook Viet Nam News Monthly Publication

    Sunday

    Sunday Việt Nam News The National English Language Daily