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HCM CITY — Inspiring images of a doctor wearing PPE feeding a COVID-19-infected baby, shops offering free lunches and rice ATMs are some of the inspirations for painter Le Sa Long’s recent artworks about the pandemic.
The painter recently debuted the collection Saigon During Days of Social Distancing to show people who are doing their best to fight the pandemic and ensure the safety of HCM City.
The collection has been published on the painter’s Facebook page.
“The paintings are like a ‘record’ of the outbreak of the horrible and unforgettable pandemic in the early days of the millennium, starting from the mid-May days while I was guiding my students to sketch the daily life of Saigoneers. I suddenly had an uneasy feeling about COVID-19. Then on June 1 and June 15, social distancing was imposed in the city under the Prime Minister's Directive to prevent the spread of the virus,” wrote Long on his Facebook.
By now, the 54-year-old has finished 40 paintings and is still working on others.
The story of 30-year-old doctor Phạm Thị Thanh Thuy from the central province of Lam Đồng who works at the Emergency Department of Trưng Vương Hospital was among those that moved Long the most.
Thuy shared on her Facebook that a mother came into contact with an infected person when she went to the market, contracted the disease and then spread it to her husband and two children. She is suffering from severe respiratory failure and is being treated at Phạm Ngọc Thạch Hospital while her husband and two young children are being treated at Trưng Vương Hospital.
Everyone was moved by their plight so the father and his babies were allowed to stay in the same bed.
The seven-month-old baby is still being breastfed. Not being used to bottle feeding, she was hungry and cried frequently during her treatment at the hospital.
“She is about the same age as my baby but unfortunately has to be separated from her mother, so after every shift, I pump my own milk and preserve it in the fridge. Every day when I go to the hospital, I bring my own milk to feed the baby COVID-19 patient," she wrote.
Reading her story, Long decided to capture the emotional moment of Thuy bottle-feeding the baby with her own milk in a painting.
Speaking about the inspiration for the painting Mot Thien Thần Trong Mua Dịch (An Angel During the Pandemic), the painter said: “When the HCM City Centre for Disease Control released a touching video clip of a five-year-old COVID-19 patient being taken to treatment, while her father was also infected and her mother was taken to an isolation area, I deeply sympathised with them.
“The clip captures the image of the little girl alone in a baggy personal protective suit climbing into an ambulance that will take her to Trưng Vương Hospital for treatment. Seeing such an image, I could not hold back my tears!”
Other paintings reveal stories of humanity among citizens of HCM City in difficult times, such as the story of a girl who presented a lottery ticket seller with a box of instant noodles, a grocery stall offering necessities for free or shops offering free lunches.
“I understand that it is all due to the love for Sai Gòn, especially these days when Sai Gòn is ‘sick’. Everyone wants to contribute their part to help the city recover quickly, showing their love for the land that has protected and nourished them,” he said. VNS
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