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Mural to salute sister cities, 1973 Paris Peace Accords

Update: July, 23/2012 - 10:37


Conception: Artist Thu Thuy (far left) presents the sketch of her ceramic mosaic mural to the vice mayor of Choisy le Roi, Jean Joel Lamarchand ( centre), and Ha Noi People's Committee vice chairwoman Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc ( right). _ VNS Photo
HA NOI — Images of the signing of the historic Paris Peace Accords in 1973 will be recreated on a large mosaic mural in the convention hall of the Paris suburb of Choisy le Roi, as a gift of the Ha Noi People's Committee celebrating the sister-city relationship of Ha Noi, Choisy le Roi and the Italian city of Lugo.

Choisy le Roi also hosted the Vietnamese delegation during negotiation of the accords in 1968-73.

Artist Nguyen Thu Thuy, who created the Ceramic Road along the Hong (Red) River dyke in Ha Noi – already noted as the longest ceramic mural in the world by the Guinness Book – has conceived the new work, which will highlight historic images of the Paris Peace Accords on a background of three smooth silk bands, symbolising the flow of three rivers, the Red River in Ha Noi, Seine River in Choisy le Roi, and Santerno River in Lugo.

Thuy also found another feature the three cities hold in common – they all are famous by their unique ceramic products.

"While Ha Noi is very proud of being home to the traditional ceramic village Bat Trang, Lugo is well-known for its mosaic churches which were built during the Renaissance," Thuy said. "Choisy le Roi was once famous for its ceramic workshop Boulenger,which produced sophisticated and world-acclaimed products."

To find further inspiration, the 40-year-old artist visited Choisy le Roi twice. During the visits to the city, about 11km southeast of Paris, she was taken to several different locations associated with the Peace Accords in 1973, including the French Communist Party School on Maurice Thorez Street in which the Vietnamese stayed for five years, the house at No 11 Darthe Street in which Viet Nam's senior diplomatic consultant, Le Duc Tho, and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger conducted secret discussions.

With the very first sketch formed in her mind, she decided that the work would consist of a portrait of President Ho Chi Minh, an image of the signing ceremony for the Peace Accords, an image of the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam in front of the French Communist Party School in 1968, and a photo depicting the joy of the head of the Vietnamese delegation, Xuan Thuy, and the governor of Choisy le Roi, Fernand Dupuy, after the signing ceremony.

The world-famous photo La jeune fille a la fleur (The Girl and Flower), an anti-war image taken by French photographer Marc Ribound during a demonstration in Washington in 1967, will also be recreated on the mural.

Besides visiting Choisy le Roi, Thuy also travelled to Lugo in Italy's Ravenna Province in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna.

Alongside the historical images, the mural will include elements of typical ceramics from each region. Thuy selected the unique ceramics of the Ly-Tran dynasties (1009-1400) and the clay relief featuring dragon patterns which was excavated at the Royal Citadel in Ha Noi.

"While the brown-on-white ceramic of Ly-Tran dynasties is very unique in that it cannot be found anywhere else, the clay relief featuring the dragon pattern is a symbolic image of Ha Noi," she said.

The mural will also include images of Ha Noi's Long Bien Bridge, Goblain Bridge in Choisy le Roi, and an ancient bastion in Lugo.

According to the artist, the 5m-by-4m mural will require different techniques, including ceramic printing, relief and mosaic. Separated parts of the mural will be transported to France next month before being completed next by herself and four other artisans from the New Ha Noi Art Company.

The completion of the work will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and France.

Among other events planned by the two cities to celebrate the anniversary will be a staging of the contemporary play Andromake by Jon Fosse, with Jean-Marie Lejude directing a Vietnamese and French cast at the Paul Eluard Theatre in January. The play was presented to Vietnamese audiences in December 2011 as a co-production of the Viet Nam Drama Theatre, L'Espace, Choisy le Roi's Paul Eluard Theatre, and France's L'oeil du Tigre troupe.

The celebration will also include a screening of a documentary about the 1973 Paris Peace Accords by famous French journalist Daniel Roussel.

A photo exhibition showcasing historical pictures of the northern Viet Nam delegation during 1968-73 will be held at the city's central park. Twenty 60cm-by-80cm photos on the theme "Viet Nam Peace Movements" will highlight demonstrations against the American War which took place in the US, France and Viet Nam during the period. — VNS

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