|Architect Tran Thi Thanh Thuy shows her sketch of 78-year-old Luu Van Hao, a seller of papaya salad mixed with dried beef in Hanoi's Old Quarter (Photo: hanoimoi.com.vn)
Every weekend, the Urban Sketcher Hanoi group members can be found at their easels on a street corner, drawing a famous architectural structure or an ordinary ancient alley. The group was founded in September, 2016, by Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, a lecturer at the Hanoi University of Architecture, and three of her friends. Since then the group has attracted thousands of members, people of all ages and social strata, including foreigners and family members, who want to keep alive beautiful memories of Hanoi and preserve the city’s heritages. Thuy said: “Urban Sketcher Hanoi group rallies art aficionados, who want preserve urban values via so-called “urban sketches”. We want to cherish the good things about Hanoi because they might disappear during rapid urbanization.”
|Group members sketch Phao hamlet on the bank of the Red river (Photo: hanoimoi.com.vn)
Pham Thi Ngoc Bich, a member of UrbanSketcher Hanoi group, told VOV: “I joined this group by chance through my work. Later on, I found out that the group’s activities are meaningful. I bring my kids on our trips through Hanoi streets to draw what we see. We forgo computers, ipads, and smart phones. We are eager to go and sketch pictures no matter if it’s rainy or sunny. My kids are happy because they make friends with other young members and share their hobby.”
The Urban Sketchers Hanoi fanpage on Facebook has thousands of subscribers. It posts pictures depicting the Old Quarters, old French-styled buildings, dilapidated subsidy-period apartment blocks, heritage sites in the city center, and old-fashioned rural villages on the outskirt of Hanoi.
|Sketch of a subsidy-period apartment block (Photo: hanoimoi.com.vn)
Nguyen Van Dat, another group member, said: “On the weekend I go out to draw pictures with other group members. Our organization is non-profit. Members share a love for sketching and contemplating the beauty of Hanoi.”
The Urban Sketchers Hanoi group has had their sketches exhibited nationwide and have received enthusiastic public feedback. A book titled ‘Hanoi Old Apartment Blocks – Sketches and Memories’, a collection of 250 of the group’s sketches, was published early this year.