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Painter’s book vividly depicts war

Update: November, 07/2017 - 09:00
The cover of the book with a sketch of an old militia. — VNS Photo Minh Thu
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The wartime experiences of Việt Nam in different places are depicted truthfully and vividly in the sketches of painter Trần Huy Oánh.

His book Wartime Sketches – Everlasting Devotion was released yesterday in Hà Nội, bringing wartime memories to readers.

The book includes 189 sketches by the painter, who took note of war scenes from 1965 to 1973 in Trường Sơn trail, Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Central Highlands battlefields.

Lê Trọng Lân, chairman of the Art Council for Paintings, the Việt Nam Fine Arts Association, remarked that these paintings reflect an unforgettable period of time.

“It seems that I can meet in person again the old men at Hàm Rồng Bridge, militia girls, mothers of the Vân Kiều ethnic group, and myself in a tough but beautiful afternoon in Trường Sơn range with a burnt trail and bomb craters,” he said.

“These war scenes were beautifully sketched with gentle light colours, yet still revealed a very strong sentiment and vibration in the soul of this talented painter. He simply depicted life exactly as it was.”

Painter Trần Huy Oánh releases the book Wartime Sketches – Everlasting Devotion. — VNS Photo Minh Thu

Vi Kiến Thành, head of the Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition, said Oánh is among the greatest painters of the war and an important contributor to Việt Nam’s art scene.

“One of the most impressive paintings by Oánh is Hàm Rồng Bridge,” said Thành. “It seemed painter Oánh naturally has a sense of his generation’s duty: living and painting the wartime, in all of its aspects.”

Oánh said he stayed near Hàm Rồng bridge for one month to paint workers and young volunteers fixing the bridge and railroads with the determination not to let the US bombs destroy the bridge and block the road.

“From that day to many years later, I completed a lacquer painting called Hàm Rồng Bridge, which received the top prize in the annual National Fine Arts Exhibition in 1976,” Oánh said.

Lương Xuân Đoàn, deputy director of the Việt Nam National Fine Arts, said Oánh’s sketches then – now historical paintings in the archives - became fossils out of the lava of war, where generations of Vietnamese came to the front, lived their lives and died. But their souls seem to surround us still, with the streams, mountains and trees.

“These memories do not only belong to the painter himself but also to the next generations as ever-burning flames, an invaluable treasure of Việt Nam,” he said.  

Óanh was born in 1937. He is known for his great devotion to Vietnamese fine arts as a painter who travelled to many battlefields to document the wartime. He is also a lecturer who has taught many famous painters of Việt Nam during 15 years working at the Việt Nam University of Fine Arts. — VNS



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