Exhibition of US Veteran Highlights Notorious Effects of Agent Orange
|Artists at a painting at the exhibition in Da Nang. Photo: Duy Ninh Nguyen|
A painting exhibition highlighting the effects of Agent Orange on humans with works by the US’s famous painter David Thomas and the Boston Printmakers opened at Da Nang Arts Museum on April 17, VNA & NDO reported.
Present in Vietnam and coming to Danang to participate in this exhibition include David Thomas and five artists Susan Denniston, Margo Lemieux, Colleen MacDonald, Marilyn Mase and Carolyn Musket
The event aims to strengthen friendship and international cooperation, creating opportunities for local artists to exchange and exchange creative experiences with foreign artists, especially in the field of graphic works about the pain of war and the heavy and persistent consequences that Agent Orange (AO) has caused to humans.
|After seeing X-ray films of his brain, David Thomas created visual images of the battle with the disease. Photo: Duy Ninh Nguyen|
On display are 70 paintings that have been arranged in two spaces. The first space, themed “Finding Parkinsons”, showcase artworks by painter Thomas who was born in Portland, Maine, in 1946.
He is a US war veteran and was the first foreigner to be awarded a "For the culture cause" order in recognition of his contribution to Vietnam’s culture in 1999. In 2010, he was presented an insignia "For the cause of Vietnamese fine arts" by the Vietnam Fine Arts Association.
In 2015, Thomas was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which he believed to be caused by exposure to AO during wartime. After seeing X-ray films of his brain, he created visual images of the battle with the disease.
|Visitors look at a painting at the exhibition in Da Nang. Photo: VNA|
The second space displays artworks by 37 members of the Boston Printmakers, intended to promote solidarity and mutual understanding between Vietnamese and US artists.
Founded in 1947, the mission of the Boston Printmakers is to promote public knowledge of graphic paintings and encourage the development of the graphic art.
These artworks themed “Peace, Love, and Understanding” will be donated to the Da Nang Fine Arts Museum after the exhibition closes on April 21.
In her remarks at the opening, Nguyen Thi Chinh, deputy director of the museum, said the exhibition aimed to strengthen friendship and international cooperation, creating opportunities for local artists to exchange with foreign peers, especially in the creation of graphic paintings.
It also introduced unique, meaningful and works of high artistic value to the public, reflecting the severe and persistent consequences caused by AO to humans, she said.
|David Thomas next to one of his works. Photo: NDO|
According to David, "Finding Parkinson" is the story of his own battle against a neurodegenerative disease. He was diagnosed with this disease in 2015, as a result of exposure to AO while stationed in Vietnam from 1969-1970. Through his art, he wants to give the public a perspective into his own world and the battle against his own brain.
Meanwhile, in Hanoi, the Vietnam Fine Arts Association and the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum will introduce an exhibition titled “David Thomas and Friends”, showcasing the latest works of David and Vietnamese artists from April 25 – 29.
For many years since 1988, David and the Indochina Arts Partnership (IAP) has been known for organising cultural and artistic exchange between Vietnam and the US, especially with large-scale significant exhibitions right before and after the normalisation of relations between the two countries in 1995.
David, who is an print-maker and art educator who, by their efforts, has made great and important contributions to initiating and sustaining activities that healed and built the mutual understanding in many aspects between the two nations that used to have a common painful past.
|Exhibition “David Thomas & Friends” in Hanoi.|
The exhibition showcases selected graphic works from the series of David during his struggle with Parkinson’s syndrome in recent years. The print series is fully presented in the ongoing group exhibition of David and Boston’s printmakers in Da Nang Fine Art Museum.
The exhibition also will showcase the works of 21 Vietnamese artists who have been invited to participate in art and culture exchange programs and activities organised and supported by IAP over a period of 30 years since 1989 to 2019.
Their relationship with David and IAP went far beyond the artistic professional exchange, but about sharing common sentiments and spiritual values, the beauty of arts, the healing and building emotions through aesthetics, the companionship in life, the sympathies for the past and the bright vision of the future.
The works of David displayed in this exhibition are part of the “Photo Hanoi 23” – the first international photography biennale in Vietnam initiated by the French Institute in Hanoi.
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