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[Video] District 4's Cheerful Hẻm Painter Breathes Life Into Plaster

Saigon's countless narrow alleys and side streets tend to be rather uniform in appearance, making it difficult for newcomers to navigate the megacity we call home. Thanks to one older gentleman, however, a hẻm in District 4 brightly stands out from the crowd.

You'll notice the colors before you even turn into hẻm 64 of Nguyen Khoai Street. Murals spill out onto the walls of a building across the way, and as you work your way into the hẻm you're greeted by pastoral scenes on nearly every vertical surface.

These delightful murals are the work of 75-year-old Nguyen Van Minh, who lives at the very end of hẻm 64, deep in a friendly neighborhood full of warm smiles and delicious food. In stark contrast to the often drab colors of Saigon alleys, houses here are surrounded by flowers, fields, wildlife and images of rural existence, all painted with a playful hand.

Minh has even painted signs for some of the cafes and cơm tấm carts in the area, with their names and hours drawn right on the wall. The extensiveness of his work is impressive, with nearly every branch off the main alley bathed in colors and lovely images. Many of the illustrations also feature heartfelt messages.

Take a tour of hẻm 64 Nguyen Khoai and meet Minh through the video below. When he's not busy painting, you may catch him plucking his guitar to the tune of nhạc Vàng.


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