Exhibition to commemorate fallen soldiers

Truong Son National Martyrs’ Cemetery in the central province of Quang Tri will hold its first art exhibition this weekend.
Truong Son National Martyrs’ Cemetery in the central province of Quang Tri will hold its first art exhibition this weekend.

The two-day exhibition, initiated by artist Tran Nhat Thang, aims to commemorate national heroic martyrs. The exhibits will then be burnt in a memorial ceremony.

The idea came to Thang about 20 years ago when he was reading the novel Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh.

When Thang first visited the Truong Son Cemetery in 2007 and 2010, he witnessed war veterans expressing deep gratitude to their late comrades-in-arms. He then decided that on his third visit to the cemetery he would do something to commemorate the martyrs.

“I’m hoping that the exhibition will not just be for the 10,000 martyrs in the Truong Son cemetery but also for all martyrs in the whole country,” said Thang.

A graduate from the Hanoi Fine Art University ’s Faculty of Graphic Art and a member of the Vietnam Fine Art Association, he has submitted many solo works to domestic exhibitions, as well as exhibitions in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Japan.

Thang has received nearly 100 pieces from artists who wish to have their art displayed in the exhibition, and he is still welcoming contributions from artists.

Artist Le Tri Dung, who operated a tank about 40 years ago, was the first to send in his paintings entitled Dioxin Forest; Gio Linh’s Female Guerilla; Portrait of Soldier and Homeland Lotus.

Dung took part in a battle in Quang Tri in 1972 where he had an injury to his right knee which to this day still leaves him with a pain in his leg. “I’m glad to have my four paintings burn in honour of my comrades-in-arms who selflessly sacrificed their own lives for the national independence,” said Dung.

Many artists, including both veterans and young artists, from every corner of the nation are contributing pieces of art of different genres to the exhibition. Among them are Quach Dong Phuong, Tran Hoang Co, Dang Duc Thanh, Nguyen Tuan, Nguyen Son and Dinh Quan.

Nguyen Tuan is a sculptor and will send large statues to the cemetery. The Ho Chi Minh City-based Nguyen Son will send his special collage works to the exhibition for which he used silver and black coloured paper.

Dinh Quan has produced two paintings of Buddha for the exhibition. “I highly appreciate this initiative by Thang and I believe it should be maintained. I chose to paint Buddha because I want to pray for the martyrs’ souls,” said Quan.

Thang will display his three latest artworks that depict the lotus flower at the exhibition. The lotus bears a spiritual and religious symbolism in Buddhism and he hopes that his pieces will act as a prayer for the martyrs’ souls to rest in peace.

The paintings will be placed in black and white frames then suspended from trees with white ribbons in the main area of the cemetery. The artworks will be burnt at 5pm on April 7.-VNA

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