Artist’s sketch collection celebrates Saigonese’s altruism during hard times
In his ongoing sketch project, Ho Chi Minh City-based artist Le Sa Long strives to portray the small acts of generosity among residents, a virtue that has once again been highlighted during the tough time of social distancing in the southern city.
An established painter in the domestic art scene who has multiple solo exhibitions and awards under his belt, Long picked up urban sketching as a habit in mid-May.
He wandered the city which he has called home for over 30 years for live sketches for a few weeks, until it began to be put under social distancing measures on May 31 and later a citywide ban on non-essential travels on June 15.
Cooped up at home under this hibernation phase, Long decided to create a new series of sketches inspired by heartwarming photos of Saigonese that he spotted on social media and in newspapers.
He has so far portrayed 40 vignettes on paper and is planning to create more.
“These images of Saigonese residents helping each other out during hard times touched my soul,” he said.
“I was inspired to translate these moments and put them under a new light through the language of art.”
A standout in his collection is the vignette of a five-year-old wearing PPE overalls, standing by herself, waving goodbye to the camera before boarding an ambulance to enter quarantine.
Another sketch pays tribute to pop singer Ha Anh Tuan, who donated 25 metric tons of rice to help the struggling citizens.
Other optimistic news stories, including no-cost grocery stores for the needy, community fridges, and charity efforts benefiting pandemic-struck people, are also portrayed.
The sketches have earned Long showers of praises after they were posted on his social media account.
Many individuals have even asked to buy his pieces online, despite not having seen them in person, Long revealed.
He plans to auction several slice-of-life works to raise funds for charity causes for underprivileged people in the city, while portrait pieces of Ha Anh Tuan or frontline doctors will be gifted to the respective subjects as a tribute.