the concept of war has been a dominant theme throughout art and literature. Wars have been a part of the human experience that has been fought with guns and swords, and expressed with symbols and ideas. War and opposition to war have been represented throughout history by using the tools and texts of political science, sociology, history, literature, music, and the visual arts. The Vietnamese society has been no exception to the above.
Vietnam has a history as rich and evocative as anywhere on earth. The American War in Vietnam captured the attention of the West, but centuries before that Vietnam was scrapping with the Chinese, the Khmers, the Chams and the Mongols. Vietnamese civilization is as sophisticated as that of its mighty neighbor China, from where it has drawn many of its influences under a thousand year occupation. The Americans were simply the last in a long line of invaders who had come and gone through the centuries and, no matter what was required or how long it took, they too would be vanquished. Although the war has been over a long time, it has left deep scars on the minds of the Vietnamese people. The war artists have captured the historic moments on the canvasses.
Artists throughout history have depicted wars and Vietnam War belongs to this tradition. Official war artists, Vietnam veterans, interested observers and opponents of the war created Art from the Vietnam War. It also includes political and social cartoons and posters. The Vietnam War is a significant event of the American experience. Scholars have studied the war and its consequences, and artists of all genres have depicted it in their arts and paintings. Even though the conflict itself lasted from 1961 to 1975, the Vietnam War continues to be the focus of extensive scholarly as well as popular interest.
Many artists were actively against the war and used their art to express the horror and human tragedy of war. From the time of the war, some veterans and even their families have expressed their experiences of and feelings about the war in artistic form. The war artists have staunchly opposed the war and depicted its inhumanity through naked, flayed figures against raw linen grounds and scenes of U. S. soldiers attacking Vietnamese civilians. Dinh Q. Lê Chen, Liza Nguyen, Binh Danh, An-My Lê, Johnny Miller and Howard Henry Chen are among the few prominent artists who have been in direct relationship to the Vietnam War. Each artist explores the war recollection through parents, historical accounts from available publication, or even Vietnamese born with childhood experiences. The emotional memory of the war has been affected equally by the loss each one faced because of the physical damage inflicted by the war.
The Vietnam War profoundly influenced American Society and most accounts of the period dwell on the war's domestic ramifications. The war is still a constant reminder to its citizens’ of its pains, through memorials, war cemeteries, bomb craters, flattened ancient ruins, discarded scrap metal, land mines, and hidden traces of dioxin in the soil. These artworks and monuments now form the bulk of the freshly revived tradition of Vietnam art , which is steadily making its presence felt among the art connoisseurs of the world.
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