[Talk] Becoming Revolutionary: Artists in North Vietnam between Colonialism & Communism, 1945-1954

Becoming Revolutionary: Artists in North Vietnam between Colonialism & Communism, 1945-1954
with Dr Phoebe Scott

The collection of Ambassador Dato’ N. Parameswaran contains a rich array of materials produced in wartime Vietnam, between 1945 and 1975. In the earliest period of this conflict, the First Indochina War (1946-1954), many artists in North Vietnam were involved in supporting the communist-led Revolution against French colonial control. However, the most senior of these artists had in fact trained in the colonial-period art school established by the French in Hanoi, from the 1920s-1940s. How did they “become” revolutionary artists? This talk will look at the experiences of these artists and their students, working in the Viet Minh-controlled zones in the north of Vietnam. These artists made their work in a period of wartime scarcity and danger, as well as increasing ideological control. They had to re-evaluate their approach to their artwork, as well as to art exhibitions and education, assessing their colonial past while they navigated a complex new socio-political terrain.

This talk is organised in conjunction with the exhibitions “Who wants to remember a war?” and LINES: War Drawings and Posters from the Ambassador Dato’ N. Parameswaran Collection, which features posters, woodcuts and drawings from the French phase of the Indochina war of resistance against the Americans, and drawings and sketches of life and people at the frontlines.

For more information on the exhibitions, please click here.

About the speaker
Dr Phoebe Scott is a curator at the National Gallery Singapore, where she has recently co-curated exhibitions Reframing Modernism: Painting from Europe, Southeast Asia and Beyond (2016) and Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century (2015). Phoebe received her PhD from the University of Sydney in 2012, on the subject of modern art in North Vietnam. She has written and taught in the area of modern and contemporary Asian art.

Image credit: Phan Ke An (Kich), The Soldiers of the Capital’s Division, 1950, Woodcut print on paper, 34 x 24.5cm. Collection of Ambassador Dato’ N. Parameswaran. Used by permission of Dato’ N. Parameswaran. All rights reserved.

Phan Ke An (Kich) is the artist for the woodcut print on the cover of this student newsletter. The contents of the facing page documents a move away from French colonial institutions of learning to institutions in communist Eastern Europe, signalling a shift away from colonial legacies towards socialist internationalism.
Event Timeline
Thu Jul 14, 2016
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM SGT
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NUS Museum
Becoming Revolutionary (Thurs, 14 Jul, 7pm)
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