by Phuong Mai
Hue gallery showcases work by hearing-impaired artists
Light Star, an art gallery that includes works of hearing-impaired painters, has become a popular venue in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.
Gallery owner and artist, Truong Quang Thuan, who was born deaf, said he had always dreamed of becoming a painter, and he wanted others to have the opportunity as well.
When the gallery opened in 2009, it displayed the lacquer, oil and acrylic work of Thuan and five artists, including three hearing-impaired men.
Now, there are dozens of artists, and the gallery also offers free art classes for children with disabilities every Saturday and Sunday.
Thuan, who teaches art for the hearing-impaired at Hue's Vinh Ninh Primary School, said: "I can't help the children much, just give them basic knowledge about painting techniques, but I hope it is useful."
"I also hope the gallery will be more profitable in the future so I can help more and more people with disabilities," he said.
Female scholar devotes life to study of ethnic Co Tu culture
Living with the Co Tu ethnic minority in the central province of Quang Nam for 13 years, Phan Thi Xuan Bon fell in love with their culture and language.
She was so enamoured of their lifestyle and spirit that she eventually studied for a master's degree and is now recognised as the first scholar in the country to write professionally about the Co Tu.
Her textbooks are used by the Ministry of Education and Training to teach the Co Tu language.
Born in Quang Nam's Que Son town in 1961, Bon was sent to an orphanage in Thua Thien-Hue Province when she was four because her family was too poor to raise her.
When Bon was 17, she volunteered to live and work in the Truong Son Mountains where the Co Tu live, teaching them Vietnamese and living like the locals, eating cassava, growing pigs and enduring malaria.
Since most of them could not speak Vietnamese, Bon had to learn their language and culture, and in a few years, she could speak and write fluently.
After leaving the area, Bon studied anthropology at Hue University, and then began to conduct research on Co Tu women.
In 2012, after receiving her master's in Ha Noi, she settled in Tam Ky town in Quang Nam where she teaches the Co Tu language to Co Tu who work there and have lost touch with their culture.
"I love the Co Tu, especially the women who continue to follow their traditional customs. The desire to understand more about the Co Tu culture has always remained with me," Bon says.
"I still live as I used to in the forest," she says, adding that many Co Tu still come to Tam Ky to see her, and during Tet (Lunar New Year), she often returns to the mountains to visit them. — VNS