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Exhibition highlights anti-French war propaganda posters and paintings

Update: May, 06/2014 - 14:00

HA NOI — An exhibition of more than 100 propaganda paintings and posters which highlight the glorious resistance against the French invaders opened today in Ha Noi.

The Museum of National History has established an exhibition room of propaganda paintings, posters and bulletins created during the French war from 1946 to 1954 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory.

Visitors can view the works of the pioneering painters Nguyen Do Cung, To Ngoc Van and Luong Xuan Nhi, and many other anonymous artists. A number of the paintings were created on the battlefield by the soldiers.

Propaganda paintings constituted a new fine art form in the 20th century. Yet, they were also a "sharp weapon" which had tremendous impact on the thinking, sentiments and actions of the masses, said Vu Manh Ha, vice director of the museum.

The paintings and posters reflect the guidelines and policies of the Vietnamese Communist Party and the State, and the thinking and activities of the Vietnamese people and soldiers during the Anti-French War.

Due to the poor conditions during wartime, the artists had to work with simple and modest tools and papers of poor quality. However, they still made lively, colourful artworks to inspire the people's patriotism, calling them to fight against the invaders and increase production to serve the revolution.

Many of the artists are anonymous as they didn't put their name on their artworks.

Some of the painters said that they had volunteered and felt happy to serve the resistance with their creations, according to Nguyen Thi Tuong Khanh, an expert from the museum.

"Most of them were not professional. They might have been soldiers who painted during the operation," she said.

"The sketches have bright colours and strong strikes which are similar to the characteristics of folk paintings," Khanh said. "The painters made them easy to understand so that their messages and appeal could be conveyed to the common people."

Three pictures published by the northern province of Bac Giang's Information Department in 1949 call the people to wipe out the French invaders, hunger and illiteracy. — VNS Photos

Vice director Ha said the collection of propaganda paintings and posters shows the development of the Vietnamese culture in general, and Vietnamese fine art in particular.

"They make a lively historical diary, written with images and graphic art," he said.

These propaganda paintings were created to praise the close-knit relationship between the soldiers and the people; commemorate the anniversaries; mark special occasions; call the people to fight and work; and honour major personalities.

"We expect the exhibition to help visitors understand more about the historical and cultural value of the propaganda paintings and posters, their contribution to the victory of the Anti-French War, which ended with the resounding victory of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign in 1954," Ha said.

The exhibition will run till July at the Museum of National History, 25 Tong Dan Street, Ha Noi. — VNS

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