Vietnamese Talents
Disabled man sculpts his way through the pain
  • | dtinews | January 08, 2011 08:40 AM

A young disabled man from central Quang Binh province strives to overcome his physical disability so he can fulfill his dream of becoming a famous sculptor.

Le Truong Giang with his sculptures
Giang is working in the garden

For over 20 years, Le Truong Giang has been struggling with great physical pain in order to train himself to carve stone sculptures.

When Giang was small, he was a healthy, cute little boy. His life at Le Ky No. 1 hamlet, Vinh Ninh commune, Quang Ninh district, was a normal one. He went to school, helped his parents graze the cows and played games. Everything change when he found a rusty wartime cluster bomb in a bush and picked it up to play with it. The bomb exploded, leaving him seriously injured.

The injuries were serious enough to leave him physically disabled for life. The explosion ultimately led to problems with his hip and bone degeneration. After undergoing long-term treatment, the situation improved, but only briefly. From the 9th grade, he was experiencing debilitating pain, and he found it harder and harder to move. Soon he spent most of his time in bed.

“Many people are depressed when they become disabled, but I think it’s a matter of fate. We must accept such things. I only regret that I might not have the chance to realise my dream, or to take care of my parents,” said Giang.

Still, he doesn’t surrender to his disability. Giang was determined to walk again. He woke up early every day to exercise his legs, and despite the pain, he insisted on continuing on with his exercises. After four years he was able to walk again.

Partially recovered, Giang continued helping his parents grazing the cows. When he was able to play outside in the hills again, he began to think about sculpture. Initially, he carved stones basing their shape on pictures he imagined or remembered from books or magazines.

Giang said, “When I started sculpting, the results were not so nice but my work has become better.” When Giang’s father found out that his son was interested in sculpting, he decided to prepare him a space in the garden to work.

“It is not actually true that any stone can be used to make a sculpture. Many times, I’ve had to dive under cold water to find a suitable stone for my art. I almost forget my pain when I find such a stone,” he said. He often has sleepless nights, thinking about the shape his next work will take.

Since 2006, he has made dozens of stone statues that resembled children, women, Uncle Ho, the Virgin Mary, an old man smoking tobacco and a boy grazing buffalo.

He loves sculpting so much that he spares enough space in his small house for the display of over 50 stone sculptures, each of which holds a special significance. Giang also likes to present some of his work to his friends as gifts. However, he has never tried to sell any sculpture.

When asked about his dream, Giang said, “I wish to develop my career and take care of myself, to ease the burden on my aging parents. Nothing makes me happier than the fact that I can pursue my passion.”

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