You know the feeling when you live in a place for so long that you rarely break out of your own routines to explore your own town? Well, living in Hoi An has been quite a dream for us as we get to enjoy many different aspects of life, from sunbathing by the beach, lunch by the river, sunset cocktails by the rice paddies, to dinner in the old beautiful lantern town…, but sometimes it is so nice to take a road trip into the countryside to have a fresh look at our own beloved town from the eyes of a tourist.
So long story short, we had been meaning to take a day trip to Tam Thanh Mural Village for a while, but it was not until we met up again with our lovely guests Jean-Pierre and Tina, who had also been to Hoi An for three times and were looking for a new experience, that we were determined to drive one hour down South to see what all the hype about this place was about. And then came one of the loveliest days during our whole time in Hoi An!
If Tam Thanh was just another quaint Vietnamese fishing village in a little less than a year ago, it has now completely transformed into a beautiful living art gallery that celebrates the local culture, people and nature. This amazing makeover was thanks to a joint initiative by the Korean Community Art Exchange Program and the Vietnamese People’s Committee of Quang Nam Province to bring art to the people. The project was carried out over the course of two weeks in the summer of 2016 by five Korean artists, seven Vietnamese artists, and a group of local volunteers to complete over 100 murals. And the results are just astonishingly beautiful.
As we strolled down the main road of the village, we felt as if we had stepped into unicorn land with an unexpected explosion of colors. Each house had its own story with unique themes and color palettes, from beautiful Vietnamese girl with the most mesmerizing eyes, to funny character from Frozen popping out of an alleyway, to a piece of satire art with a hidden meaning. We even got to meet a tailor and his family who were the subject of a beautiful wall art in his own home. Every time we looked into an alleyway, we came across more beautiful murals trailing down the houses toward the beach. It truly was an amazing experience.
As a Vietnamese, I can really appreciate the effects of this project on the lives of the locals. In a way, the murals have really added a fresh breath of life into the Tam Thanh village. We met with proud grandmother who insisted us to go down her alleyway to see more hidden artworks. Group after group of young schoolboys with the biggest smiles waved and said hello to us as they passed by on the way home from school. The locals’ quality of living have certainly been improved thanks to large number of tourists visiting their village, but at the same time, you could still feel the warm and genuine hospitality through welcoming smiles and friendly waves. I really hope there would be more similar projects to bring spectacular works of living art to the many beautiful yet sleepy corners of Vietnam.
And here are some of the artworks that Jean-Pierre has skillfully captured to get you excited! Don’t forget to check out this amazing project to see all the other murals for yourself!