Group keep memories of Hanoi alive through sketches

Saturday, 2019-01-19 11:46:35
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Members of Urban Sketchers Hanoi posing with their sketches at an outdoor activity
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NDO – Everyone has their personal stories and memories about the place they live and the period of time they experienced. Founded three years ago, Urban Sketchers Hanoi is a group of architects and painters who have longed to keep their memories of Hanoi alive, thus inspiring the love for Hanoi among the community.

The group was established by Hanoi-born architect Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, a lecturer at the Hanoi University of Architecture, and three of her friends. Working as an architect provides Thuy with a better look and feeling on the city’s charm and its change in appearance as time goes by.

The ancient beauty of Hanoi is changing throughout the confluence between Eastern and Western cultures. The city is getting more crowded with mushrooming development of buildings and skyscrapers. Hanoians are changing, too, which can be seen in both their lifestyle and daily life practices. Many good things have gone away.

Therefore, Urban Sketchers Hanoi was born to achieve beautiful memories of Hanoi streets, breath of life and people. “Bygones will never return. Instead of regret, we should treasure and preserve the present and unique values of Hanoi that no other city can have,” Thuy said.

Thuy’s group has received great appreciation from many people as the number of members has continued to increase. During weekends, the group’s members often tour French-styled old buildings and heritage sites in the down town area or make field trips to ancient villages on the outskirt of Hanoi.

The members’ sketches might recall memories of childhood and family as well as intimate feelings among viewers, some of whom then became part of the group.

Le Ngoc Quang, a student from Dai Nam University, said that many people choose photography as a means to capture beautiful moments of Hanoi. However, drawing is a slower process which allows the painter to have a deeper feeling about what he is working on.

Starting with only four members, the Urban Sketchers Hanoi fanpage on Facebook now has more than 3,500 subscribers; 50 of them have regularly taken part in the group’s activities and events.

On the first days of New Year 2019, the group debuted a book titled ‘Hanoi Old Apartment Blocks – Sketches and Memories’. The book is a collection of 250 sketches, which are on display in a sketching exhibition at 70 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung district, throughout January.

So far, the old apartment blocks have not been selected as a popular theme for paintings of Hanoi, however, they are a dear place for many generations of Hanoians, particularly those who were born between the 1960s-1980s. Each sketch on display at the exhibition conveys a personal memory and story of the painter about Hanoi.

When the group’s members visited the old apartment block in Nguyen Cong Tru street, they received several complaints from residents, who argued that the building is too old and downgraded, and if there are more artworks on it, then wait until the facility will be rebuilt.

However, when they were invited to the exhibition, they were provided with a deeper look at the place where they are living, inspiring them to treasure it more, even though it will be replaced in the near future.

Urban Sketchers Hanoi also targets its operation on children, as the group has hosted two exhibitions on ‘Children’s drawings about Hanoi’ on the occasion of International Children’s Day (June 1) in 2017 and 2018.

The exhibitions not only offered visitors with a fresh and interesting look of children in Hanoi, but also encouraged participating children’s discoveries about the life around them, inspiring their love and pride for the city’s heritages.

Hanoi is changing day by day, and members of Urban Sketchers Hanoi have kept working to raise people’s awareness to preserve the time-treasured beauty of the capital city.

Selected sketches by members of Urban Sketchers Hanoi: