Lively images of the historic Long Bien Bridge, dating from past to present, have been put on display at an on-going exhibition near Hoan Kiem Lake.

Through 169 watercolours, oil paintings, pastel drawings, lacquer and wood carvings and sculptures, the city's young and senior artists have depicted the 100-year-old bridge, particularly through wartime. Their works tell of heroic deeds carried out in the struggle against foreign invaders alongside tales of daily life, as connected to the bridge that spans the Hong (Red) River.

Mat Dat Bau Troi Thang Chap (The Earth and Sky in December), a large-scale oil painting by Nguyen The Huu, depicts the bridge with American aircraft gliding in the sky and soldiers keeping their adversaries on the back foot.

Artist Trinh Quoc Thu uses the image of a dragon hovering in the sky, breathing fire on the enemy warplanes to protect the bridge and people on the ground through his oil-on-canvas Cau Long Bien – Cay Cau Chung Nhan Lich Su (Long Bien Bridge – Historical Witness). Truong Trung also symbolises the bridge with an image of a flying dragon, holding a fire ball in its mouth with his Vuot Song Song Hong (Crossing the Red River Waves) on acrylic.

The bridge is presented mostly in hot colours such as red brown, yellow, orange and deep blue to describe a life full of energy of not only the bridge itself, but also of the people by its river banks.

Abstract: Song Song Hong (The Hong River Waves) by Nguyen Thu Thuy.
Images of a peaceful life appear through one painting after another, illustrating a banana market, farming in rice fields, fishing boats in the early morning, traffic, a parade of cyclos involved in an engagement party and images of children with kites.

"Through these paintings, I got to understand a little more about the history of the bridge," said a 10th grader from the Ly Thuong Kiet High School while viewing Song Song Hong (The Hong River Waves) by painter-journalist Nguyen Thu Thuy.

Creator of the Hanoi mosaic mural, Thuy utilised tiny, square ceramic pieces of red brown, orange and turquoise on a base of lacquer to give her work life.

The bridge has always been an inspiration to writers, poets, musicians and painters, said a member of the organising board and the Hanoi Fine Arts Association at the opening of the exhibition on Monday.

Designed by Gustave Eiffel, Long Bien Bridge was built in 1898 by the Dayde and Pille Company, and inaugurated in 1903. At the time, it was the longest bridge in Indochina and one of the four longest bridges in the world.

With a length of 1,682m including 19 steel spans, the bridge is a fine example of the engineering featured in the Paris Eiffel Tower. The bridge, having survived countless bombings, stands as a symbol of Vietnam's courageous fight for liberty and serves as a connection between Hanoi's past and present.

The event opened on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the day late President Ho Chi Minh sent a letter to artists during an exhibition in the northern battle field in 1951 and the 65th anniversary of the nationwide war of resistance against French, December 19, 1946.

The exhibition, Cau Long Bien – Ky Uc va Hien Tai (Long Bien Bridge – Memory and Present), will run until next Thursday at 93 Dinh Tien Hoang and 19 Hang Buom, Hanoi./.