“Mountain Star Charity” brings art to disadvantaged children

(VOVWORLD) - Mountain Star Charity is a project that teaches children in mountainous, disadvantaged areas to paint. It was initiated in 2014 by Taiwanese researcher Kuo Yen Wei, Vietnamese artist Nguyen Truong Linh and a group of Vietnamese contemporary artists after a visit to Ha Giang province. Over the past six years, the Mountain Star Charity fine art project has brought joy to disadvantaged children across Vietnam’s mountainous and remote areas, connected them, and inspired new dreams across the country.
“Mountain Star Charity” brings art to disadvantaged children - ảnh 1Painting session of children in Lung Cu, Dong Van, Ha Giang (photo: Viet Phu)

The Mountain Star Charity project was initiated and funded by Taiwanese researcher Kuo Yen Wei during his time studying and practicing fine art application in Vietnam. His group has organised field trips together to teach drawing to local children. After each trip, about half of the money earned from selling paintings is added to the fund  to continue to replicate such projects in other regions and to provide poor children with books, school supplies, clothes and cakes.

At first, only 15 painters, mainly lecturers and students from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Hanoi College of Arts, participated in the project. Now the project has 30 official members and more than 50 unofficial members.

Painter Nguyen Truong Linh, who has been with the project since the  beginning, said all the regions  they have visited have a lot of difficulties. The first destinations of the project were primary schools in Ha Giang province. They organised games and talks to help the children feel the beauty of their homeland, then guided them to create an art work using materials available nearly, such as pigments from the leaves charcoal, linen, brocade, wood chips, and coconut shells.

“Mountain Star Charity” brings art to disadvantaged children - ảnh 2Painters of the "Mountain Star Charity" teach the children painting. 

Painter Tran Tuan Long, a project member, said: “When the children are on their summer holiday, we go to remote mountains and islands to teach them fine arts. We give them painting materials, books, and pencils. They draw on locally woven linen using natural pigments.”

The children in Hanoi, who were once timid, have now shown their confidence by their brush strokes. Many have become excellent students. The project has been extended to other remote regions such as the Central Highlands, CoTo Island and Vung Tau.

Than Thanh Huong, a student from the Hanoi College of Arts, visited the "Six Perfection" exhibition, commemorating six years since the project began in Hanoi: “I’m impressed by the children’s paintings which are both innocent and expressive.  I think that they can sense what the painters wanted to teach them.”

The 6th exhibition displayed more than 50 works by more than 20 young contemporary Vietnamese painters and disadvantaged children in Ba Ria - Vung Tau and Ha Giang province. In addition to paintings, the exhibition also showcased art installations . Over recent years, together with teaching drawing, the project has organised many  exhibitions in Vietnam and abroad.

Painter Nguyen Xuan Luc said: “Mountain children are special. They live in deserted areas and they have a strong instinct for survival. It inspires me and enriches my life, providing material for my own work.”

The artists plan to organise an international exhibition in Kien Giang Province in 2021 with the participation of artists from the Republic of Korea, Japan, China and Thailand, along with a competition on painting.