There is a corner of the capital city that many tourists look for these days. It is because they have found out a miniature Hanoi at “Phuc Tan Public Art Project” on a road along the Red River in Phuc Tan ward (Hoan Kiem district) which used to be a dumpsite.

Artist Vu Xuan Dong’s boats, four in all, are made from 10,000 plastic bottles reminiscent of the once bustling Red River quay more than 100 years ago/ Photo: Lai Tan

In 2019, the People’s Committee of Hoan Kiem District  decided to turn the dumpsite into an art destination under the project “Renovating the Red River’s bank”. The targeted place is the area around 500m of old wall, erected about 20 years ago to prevent illegal land encroachment.

Over the years, this place has become an open-air dumpsite, filled with everything that households dispose every day. The local authority has made effort to Prevent disorderly littering. The artwork creators hope that the art street will encourage local people to lead a better and more sustainable life, while attracting more vistors.

With the idea of involving the local people in  creating a work of  street art   with recycled materials, the lecturer of Vietnam University of Fine Arts – painter Nguyen The Son and his colleagues turned the Phuc Tan trash site into an attractive destination for young people and tourists.

The leader of the project together with 14 local painters, architects and two foreign painters, had come to Phuc Tan for many times to experience local life and listen to locals’ opinions. After learning about the idea, the artists joined in cleaning the area and collecting recycled materials with support from local residents.

Painter Goerge Burchett from Australian through his two works “Elephant” and “Living Green” made of stainless steel, wanted to convey the message “Make Hanoi clean and green” and connect  people with nature.

Architect Diego Chula used broken mirrors to create “Color” for all visitors to see themselves in his works. In addition, the baskets to keep chicken in Long Bien market were transformed  into colorful lanterns through his creative hands. He also designed a row of recycled iron chairs from old iron window frames for visitors to rest while viewing artistic works.

“Floating house” artwork by artist Le Dang Ninh. Photo: Lai Tan

Meanwhile, artist Khac Quang shows us the image of the last blind singer of the 20th century, artist Ha Thi Cau on a tram, an old familiar means of transport in Hanoi.

And artist Nguyen The Son created two reliefs with a total length of 6m as an embossed adaptation of the picture “Fishery and agriculture”from scrap iron and stainless steel to tell everyone about the hard life of the people living on both banks  of the Red River.

Immigrants living on the Red River will find themselves in artist Le Dang Ninh’s “Floating House”. With barrels and laser cutting techniques combined with LED light effects, his work has taken visitors from one surprise to another  with a different perspective about Hanoi at night. Thanks to the illumination, the work still stands out at night along the riverside roads.

With more than 10,000 plastic objects and motor oil bottles combined with iron frame and scrap ceramic, painter Vu Xuan Dong has created  the painting “Boat” with the size of 10m x 3.5m. The painter brought visitors to the old Thang Long painting with busy merchant ships.

“The project is not just about recycling, but through art it tells stories of memories and history,” said artist Nguyen The Son, who organized the project. All 16 artists with their talented hands turn different materials which all are scraps into a unique art collection. The artwork creators hope that the art street will encourage local people to lead a better and more sustainable life, while attracting more vistors.