Hearing-impaired painter Tran Nam Long creates sound in his strokes

(VOVWORLD) -An ancient and simple Hanoi with old stairs, mossy walls, and old French-architecture buildings is reproduced in 50 oil paintings and pen-and-ink sketches at a recent exhibition called "Old Streets" in Hanoi. This is the first solo exhibition of Tran Nam Long, who is hearing-impaired but capable of creating drawings that bring the sounds of life to life. 

Hearing-impaired painter Tran Nam Long creates sound in his strokes - ảnh 1Visitors to the exhibition "Old Streets" of Tran Nam Long (Photo: VOV)

People who visited Tran Nam Long's exhibition "Old Streets" were struck by the vivid truths in each brushstroke.

"For a  normal artist to have a solo exhibition at the age of 18 is very difficult, but Long has made it. Despite all the difficulties and illness, what Long has done is extraordinary," said a visitor to Long's exhibition. 

"I’m very impressed with Nam Long's sketches of Hanoi. These sketches must be directly drawn. They reflect how hard Long has worked and how much he is interested in drawing," said a visitor to the "Old Streets" exhibition.

Tran Nam Long, born in 2005, was less fortunate than other children. He has multiple physical deformities.

"I realized that Nam couldn’t speak like a normal child. When I took him to the doctor, I found out that he was born deaf. Long also had flat feet, was hyperactive and had the symptoms of autism," said Ms. Phung Thi Hieu, Long's mother. 

After three surgeries, Long's health improved. He has strong endurance, but his defects made Long shy and lacking confidence when interacting with people. Long's talent for drawing was discovered when he was 3 years old. His drawings became a way for him to express his emotions.

"I always think that, I have to try my best try to rent a house in Hanoi so Long can get a good education. He draws every day, even when he is lying on a hospital bed. He draws wherever goes," said Ms. Hieu. 

Hearing-impaired painter Tran Nam Long creates sound in his strokes - ảnh 2Young painter Tran Nam Long (Photo: VOV)

Long's talent revealed itself early, but due to his family’s difficult circumstance, he could not develop his talent properly.

When Long was 11 years old, he won a prize in a drawing contest for teenagers called "Emotions in you" with a scholarship from Art Tree Center which gave him free-of-charge classes with painter Huu Chinh.

He started learning the techniques of painting and got acquainted with colors. He has a special aesthetic. Although he cannot hear the sounds around him, he has the ability to use colors to draw those sounds vividly.

"Long is only 18 years old but I admire him very much. With my many years of experience,  when I look at Long's paintings, I am still  startled. His drawing is very beautiful and emotional. He is a talent," said Architect Tran Quang Binh. 

Although he is young, Long's paintings are mature. By joining a group that includes famous painters and architects specializing in painting the facades of Hanoi's Old Quarter, Long's talent for depicting architectural works was developed. Long's pictures of ancient houses appear in the book "Impressions of Hanoi, from the sketches of French colonial buildings" and won a place in the exhibition "Bui Xuan Phai - For the love of Hanoi".  

"At Long's age, not many people have the level of realism Long does. Long is a person who has a very good sense of space and emotion. Long describes the colors of time or the atmosphere very well. I also admire Long's mother, who spends hours each week, patiently using sign language to translate what we want to say," said Architect Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, leader of the USK Hanoi Sketching team. 

For 18 years, Long’s mother has given him her love and support. He has also received a lot of love and enthusiastic guidance from teachers, artists and architects. Long has made hundreds of paintings and many of them now belong to collectors and people who love him.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Long sent the painting "Villa 39 To Hien Thanh" and the sketch "Chau Long Street" to  the Vietnam Art Space's art auction program to support the fight against COVID-19. Another painting was auctioned to help the people in the central province build flood-resistant houses.

In 2021, Tran Nam Long was  invited by the Vietnam-Italy Friendship Association as the representative of Vietnam to send 5 art works to participate in the ''International exhibition of works by people with disabilities from different countries” in Venice, Italy.

Long’s life is more meaningful because he can draw. “Old Streets" is  his first solo exhibition while he also cherishes a dream of having an exhibition in the US in the near future.