Hạnh Lisa Đoàn from Victorville, Calif. submitted this nail art mural to NAILS Magazine's 2011 Nail Mural Contest. The mural, titled "Vietnam, Forever in My Heart," depicts a countryside village in Vietnam complete with a fisherman, a woman wearing an aó bà ba and children, one of whom is riding a water buffalo. Her mural received an honorable mention, claiming a spot in the March 2011 issue of NAILS.
I had the pleasure of speaking to chị Hạnh, and wanted to know her inspiration behind her mural.
"I wanted to introduce other nail techs to our culture. This is how I remember Vietnam," she told me. "Hồi nào cũng nhớ, I always remember."
Hạnh has been doing nails at her nail salon for 19 years and now owns two salons. For many who left Vietnam after the war to seek a better future for themselves and their children, talking about the past can be difficult.
"Life here is too fast and stressful," she says, "this image reminds me of a time that was peaceful with no stress, sống nhẹ nhàng, where we lived lightheartedly."
Even so, she can't imagine how life would be had she not come to the United States. "This country is everyone's dreams and I am very grateful to God and to this country for giving me the opportunities I would not have had otherwise," Hạnh says.
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