Painter of Heroic Mothers sets Asian record

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Painter Dang Ai Viet (R) with Heroic Mother Ta Thi Hiep, 93, and her portrait at a ceremony on May 31 to recognize her Asian record for painting the largest number of portraits of Heroic Vietnamese Mothers. In the middle is the head of the Vietnam Book of Records, Le Tran Truong An.

"Do you like it, mother? Isn't it beautiful?"

The "mother" is not impressed.

"Not beautiful at all," she responds, "I am old."

But Dang Ai Viet, 65, who has just made a sketch of the older woman in brown blouse and black trousers, not to mention black-lacquered teeth, is not put off.

"No, at your age you look so beautiful and charming," she insists.

The old woman is one of 1,000 women, whose sons and daughters laid down their lives for the country's independence, that Viet has made portraits of since February 2010.

Viet has been on a unique mission in to paint portraits of all surviving Heroic Mothers in the country.

The 1,000th work, which is of Ta Thi Hiep, 93, won the artist recognition for an Asian record for the highest number of portraits of Heroic Vietnamese Mothers. The official recognition came on May 31 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Prior to the Asian Record, she had held two national records: the artist who had the highest number of portraits of Heroic Mothers; and the first woman to ride a tiny motorbike through all 63 cities and provinces in the country, drawing sketches of as many Heroic Mothers as she could.

"I will not stop here, but continue with the 1,001st since there are around 5,000 Heroic Mothers still living in Vietnam.

I am running a race against time since the mothers are all weak and old," Viet said at the Asian record awarding ceremony.

Two other Vietnamese citizens were recognized as Asian record holders last week. A total of 30 people from Asia have won the recognition this year.

Film director Nguyen Van Luong, who has so far directed over 600 films and documentaries, set the regional record for making the highest number of films on the country and its people in the sea and island regions.

Since 1998, Luong has made 221 movies on the theme, including feature films, documentaries and video reports.

Chinese-Vietnamese painter Truong Han Minh was recognized for having the most number of ink wash paintings auctioned for charity. From 1977 to 2013, an estimated 200 of his paintings have been sold through auctions, with all proceeds donated for good causes. Among Minh's auctioned works, his painting, called "Prosperity, Honor, Longevity and Youth", which fetched nearly VND2 billion (US$100,000) for poor and disabled children nationwide in 2010, is the most famous. It set a national record the same year as the longest ink wash painting in Vietnam.

The Asian Record certificates were handed over by Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury, general director of the Asian Record Organization and Asia Book of Records, who was on a working visit to the three Indochina countries in the last week of May.

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