A giant coconut shell mosaic depicting General Vo Nguyen Giap and his victory at Dien Bien Phu has been placed on display in time to celebrate the hero’s upcoming 99 th birthday on August 25.

After a two-day exhibition at the Ho Chi Minh City Exhibition Hall on Le Thanh Ton street , the painting will be brought to Quang Binh, Gen. Giap’s native province, for an official exhibition in co-ordination with several other events in the province next month.

The 2.4m by 10.8m artwork, made from 9,000 coconut shells, 100 litres of glue and some other parts from coconut trees, was finished over a forty-day period by a group of ten people under the supervision of artist Vo Quy Quoc.

The work Anh Hung Dien Bien (Heros of Dien Bien) features the battle at Dien Bien Phu which liberated the Vietnamese from the French in 1954, and an image of General Giap, the brilliant commander-in-chief in the battle.

The 26-year-old artist, who hails from the same village in Quang Binh province as Giap, said the work was a way to express his respect for the hero as well as celebrate the spirit of the Vietnamese people in the cause of their struggle for national independence.

The mosaic tells the story of Giap and the battle in mural form. Quoc spent more than a year researching and collecting materials for the giant artwork.

He said that he spent around 1 billion VND on materials and wages to his team and has donated the finished mosaic to Quang Binh province.

When it is displayed in the province next month, it will join a collection of around 40 coconut shell paintings to be displayed. The new work is being proposed as the record-holder for the longest coconut shell painting in Vietnam . Quoc has two previous works listed in the Vietnam Book of Records.

The first, Vietnam Que Huong Toi (Vietnam My Motherland), made in 2007, and 2008’s Bai Ca Ket Doan (Song of Solidarity), feature President Ho Chi Minh conducting a choir representing all 54 of the nation’s ethnic groups.

Quoc has been making coconut shell art since he was a kid, with his first public installation, a mosaic of Hoi An town, completed in 2002. He has studied at the Hue Fine Arts College./.