HCM CITY (VNS) — Colonel Pham Thanh Tam's moving book of 300 paintings, drawings, and photographs is drawn from his extraordinary experience of having witnessed and participated in the legendary battle of Dien Bien Phu which led to the resounding defeat of the French.
Drawing Under Fire is about the epic event that shook the world, changed the course of history, and forged the birth of modern Vietnamese nation.
It depicts Tam's eyewitness, first-hand experience of 56 days of heroism, camaraderie, and sacrifice.
He describes in poetic passages the poignancy of the event, and how all the sacrifice, tragedy, and horrors of war occurred in a setting of great natural beauty.
"The theme of Dien Bien Phu's combatants still overwhelms my mind," the 82-year-old says.
"Especially, sometimes I feel as if I was in debt to history when I was a witness to very important events but not talented enough to show them in art works. This prods me to hold the paintbrush telling about the nation's heroic war time."
Much of the art in the book has rarely, if ever, been seen and never presented together, making it a unique visual historical document.
The images provide insights into the extraordinary times and, for today's and future generations, a glimpse of the courage of so many brave young soldiers. — VNS