Youth with hearing disabilities shapes own destiny with art in Vietnam
Asia-Pacific, Misc., October 23 2017
A 23-year-old Vietnamese with hearing disability has been setting an example of what people with disabilities can achieve. Despite suffering from the defect at birth, Tran Quoc Dat has shown great talent with a brush in his hand.
Currently living in Dong Thap Province, located in southern Vietnam, Dat has achieved a long-time dream of his: to own an art gallery.
“This is not just me opening a gallery. This is me telling people with disabilities like me that they are not a burden to society. They can just do what other people can if they really try,” the artist wrote.
Located next to Sa Dec Park in the namesake city in Dong Thap, the gallery is a 15-square-meter room decorated with more than 30 paintings of landscapes and still on canvas.
With a pen and paper, along with the help of his mother Do Thi Lien, Dat was able to tell his story. His family left the north-central province of Thanh Hoa when he was a child to reside in Dong Thap.
He then spent more than 15 years studying at the Dong Thap School for Children with Disabilities.
Dat was always such an excellent and active student that he received many awards, both from the school and the local People’s Committee.
“Dat has set an inspiring example for other students to follow,” says Lam Thi Thu Van, vice-principal of the Dong Thap School for Children with Disabilities.
Not to mention that he was the winner of every drawing contest for the disabled he entered.
Dat’s talent in art was first displayed when he was very young. At the age of six, he was able to do drawings of pets or even his family members.
His passion for art became greater as he grew up. Drawing is a tool that helps Dat communicate with people and share with them his stories and feelings, he said.
His works are usually landscapes of the countryside.
“I like drawing what I see every day and painting it with bright colors to tell my audience that my life is also colorful,” the man explained.
The painter makes a living with his talent by receiving orders from individuals and coffee shops.
What he earns is not much, but enough to make both ends meet and keep his gallery running.
The 23-year-old also teaches his painting skills to students at his school.
There is no high school for people with disabilities in Dong Thap, meaning that if Dat wants to continue his studies, he will have to move to Ho Chi Minh City.
“Eight years in high school and university is too long. Instead, I’ll spend that time making more artworks and teaching children with disabilities like me. But I will not stop gaining knowledge through everyday life,” Dat explained his decision to halt his studies.
Dat has made quite a name for himself, getting orders from nearby provinces like Vinh Long, An Giang, and Kien Giang.
His next step is to open a bigger gallery.
“I need more space for other people with disabilities to come here and work. They can do some good to our society as long as the really want to.”