Images from Mid-Autumn Festival Painting Contest


Every year for 7 years now, the Vietnamese-American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA) has been holding a Mid-Autumn Festival Painting Contest for kids.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, probably originally a harvest festival, has evolved in tradition to become the Vietnamese day for kids.

Since 2003, VAALA (web site here) has been holding the annual painting competition for kids. As a measure of how strong the tradition has been going: Some kids who participated in the first competition are now in college; and some babies born in the year of the first competition are now participating in it.

This year’s competition took place on Saturday October 3, with the award ceremony the day after.

Enjoy the photos of people enjoying themselves.

Photos from the day of the contest are by Nguoi Viet reporter Ngoc Lan, used with permission.

The floor is as good a space as any to create art.




We’re given fingers for a reason…



The day after the competition, VAALA held the award ceremony.

The jury, by the way, consists of Audrey Yamagata Noji, Santa Ana Unified School Board Member; Don Cribb, chairman of the Santa Ana Arts Council; and three Vietnamese-American painters: Lệ Chi; Nguyễn Ðình Thuần; and Nguyễn Việt Hùng.

Entertainment at the award ceremony included everything from mid-Autumn tunes played on traditional Vietnamese musical instruments; to a hip-hop number.

Every kid that showed up was given a lighted lantern, which they then used to follow the Lion Dance troupe around, in a Mid-Autumn tradition known in Vietnamese as “rước đèn.”

The following photos are by the Bolsavik.


This is Kevin Phan, frequently seen on Thế Hệ Trẻ music videos. He does his homework while waiting for his turn to perform.


And this shy but justly proud kid is Steven Phan, who won second place in the 5-to-7 age group.

These kids are from the Lac Hong traditional music group, probably the organization most dedicated to propagating traditional Vietnamese music in the United States.



These kids actually all come from the same music school, the Spotlight School in Garden Grove.



VAALA is, of course, the same organization that put together the biennual Vietnamese International Film Festival (web site here; see Bolsavik collected entries here) as well as the FOB II: Art Speaks exhibit (see Bolsavik collected entries here).

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6 Responses to Images from Mid-Autumn Festival Painting Contest

  1. Bo May says:

    …Kevin Phan, frequently seen on Thế Hệ Trẻ music videos. He does his homework while waiting for his turn to perform….
    well, this little guy may not be as smart as Einstein but he works hard on on his homework, and I am sure he will get a good grade and not dropping out of school soon, whereas other kids will go to the hoops and wanna become the next Micheal Jordan.
    I am so proud of them.

  2. Jung Kim says:

    This is very nice event.

  3. Good grief says:

    mr bolsavik failed to make a disclaimer that he happily plugged this article no one else but mrs bolsavik, aka ysa le, who is the president of vaala. shame shame mmm mmm

  4. XYZ says:

    With Mid-Autumn festival dominating the news lately, it seems you can’t turn on a Vietnamese language TV without hearing about children are allowed to be like children. Of course, I’m talking about those people who went on Nguy Vu show last Thursday.

    In Southern California, if you’re not familiar, the Vietnamese community is represented – well, sort of – by two community leaders. To be called “community leaders” begs the question: Who, exactly, are those that they have influenced over – and who, really, are those that need their leadership? Nguyen Tan Lac is a “community leader” who is fast making many of Viets who might otherwise agree with some of his ideas take the other side because is so personally obnoxious.

    And what’s really scary about Brian Doan and Uu-Dam Nguyen is that they’re such brats. They resent having to even mention about the Vietnam war. They say, “How should I know about it?” The “I” part is the key. If I was too young for it, it didn’t happen, and it doesn’t matter. And now, if you lost the war, take your loser’s flags and go away so that we can start living in the present.

    So “Kids, if you think your art is cool: you are right. It’s very cool. Which is why you need it to be cool, because you’re not that cool.”

  5. Dennis Vo says:


    You cannot compare the two artists in the same context. Brian Doan’s work is explicit in its delivery on his political view, but Uu-Dam may be pushing another agenda on the Viet community. His artwork suggests homo-eroticism. Whoever/whatever body governing artwork in Little Saigon should observe and verify Uu-Dam’s real intention.

    There are LGBT avenues for this individual to express his personal sexual curiosity and we should not allow our forum to further another. The greater community has been burned in the past by Robert Mapplethorpe, so let’s learn from their naivite.

    There is nothing wrong with homosexuality, but is this the focus of the Little Saigon community when we are hell bent on commie chasing?

  6. telanjang says:

    Great thread. Enjoyed the posts…

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