A collection of portraits and posters from the American War in the south by veteran artist Le Lam is on show at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum.

"I reserved half of my life for the South," Lam, a Hanoi native who went south on the Truong Son Trail in 1966 and used his talents to motivate people and soldiers, said.

Hoa Si Le Lam – Mot Tam Long Vi Mien Nam (Painter Le Lam – A Soul for the South) showcases 94 portraits of Vietnamese and foreign leaders like President Ho Chi Minh, General Vo Nguyen Giap, and Cuban President Fidel Castro.

People and soldiers in the south who devoted their lives to fight against foreign aggression were also depicted.

"I was lucky to be taught by artist To Ngoc Van (one of Vietnam's most influential 20th century painters)," the 84-year-old said.

On display are 35 posters in various materials like oil paint, water colour, and silk.

Six of the works at the exhibition are on loan from the Museum of Ben Tre province and four from the Museum of Long An province.

The highlight is an oil-on-canvas triptych titled Doi Quan Toc Dai of Ben Tre (Long-haired Women Army) during the 1960s in the war against the US and the Sai Gon administration.

Ma Thanh Cao, the museum's director, said, "Through artist Le Lam's paintings, viewers can understand the southern people's personalities and patriotism as well as Lam's deep love for the land.

"And the paintings will teach younger generations about love for the country."

Lam, real name Vu Quoc Ai, graduated in 1964 from the National University of Fine Arts in Kiev, in the then Soviet Union. His first exhibition was organised in Hanoi a year later.

Lam has created thousands of portraits and hundreds of paintings which are mostly kept in museums in the southern provinces.

The exhibition at the museum, 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street, District 1, is open to the public.-VNA