In the summer of 2016, Tam Thanh was selected by a Korean-Vietnamese joint project called “Art For A Better Community.” The village was chosen to be their blank canvas. Inspired by the success of mural villages in Korea. The project set out to make Tam Thanh the first painted village of its kind in Vietnam.
The project was a success, and the village has been brought to life by the paintings. The entire town is now a breathtaking walk-through gallery just waiting to be explored. The murals that adorn it capture the life and soul of the village, from young children playing, to fishermen in the ocean. Mixed in are a good number of fantasy pieces offering great backdrops for photos.
Hidden gives you the background to the creation of the magnificent Tam Thanh mural village. Providing the best ways to get there, and a couple of options if you find that you have extra time in the area.
Why Paint the Tam Thanh Mural Village?
The joint project consisted of five Korean artists and seven Vietnamese artists, along with local volunteers. They aimed to help show the Vietnamese that art could be available in everyday life—whatever one’s place in life. The venture initially spanned over the course of about three weeks and involved washing and then painting around 100 residents’ homes with colourful murals.
The effect of the stunning artworks combined with the density and proximity of the houses in the village is encapsulating. One of the real highlights is the incredibly realistic portraits of local residents who are still currently living in their decorated homes.
The Social Impact of the Art
The art painted around the town has had not only a visual but a social impact too. The village itself was chosen not only due to the location of the houses but to help with economic development opportunities in Tam Thanh. Tourists are now visiting the once quiet village of Tam Thanh, to see the impressive murals. This, in turn, creates more income for the locals making it a successful ‘art for a cause’ project.
For example, an entrepreneurial resident that owned a small local coffee shop invested in a 9,000,000 VND (390 USD) sugarcane press one week before the murals were completed. With the increase in tourism, they have now expanded. So now there are a couple of spots to try this cooling drink at a refreshingly local price of 5,000 VND (.20c USD).
Walking through the single street of the Tam Thanh mural village, it’s not uncommon to find locals selling refreshments and handmade goods. At one particular house, a tailor and his family are painted in incredible detail on the exterior wall. The family has started selling tote bags here, decorated by their young daughter.
Since the completion of the mural project in Tam Thanh village, two other villages in the province have now been painted. The new mural villages were created with different artists this time. They draw on local Vietnamese talent to raise social awareness of issues in each community. Tam Hai Island was redecorated to bring to light the serious issue they face with their trash. Mainly due to a lack of garbage treatment plants in the area. Another village at An Binh Island was painted to raise awareness among locals and tourists of the importance of environmental protection.
Tam Thanh’s painted village was the first of its kind in Vietnam and Indochina. Above all, a day trip here provides a great mix of local life and art all in one comfortable visit. It is not only physically beautiful, but the thought behind it is enticing as well. For instance, the murals have lifted, what could have been, a poor struggling village into a bright tourist attraction with a feel-good factor. So the residents directly benefit from the town’s rejuvenation. Therefore they delight in having you visit.
However, the village is gaining popularity and is on the teetering point of becoming a well-known tourist attraction for travellers to the area. There are likely to be more villages soon as the murals expand as a canvas for expressing issues of social awareness. Therefore the fear would be to lose the community and local feel of this small stretch of road to an influx of tourists. However that being said, now is the perfect time to visit. The village remains quaint, and the quality and creativity of the murals are well worth appreciating.
So if you’re after an escape from the hustle and bustle of Hoi An, come for a day trip out here. Visit the village, and support the local people. In addition, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the refreshing sea and local life all-in-one, then end your day at the beach in Tam Thanh and make a day of it.
According to hiddenhoian.com