Vietnamese women who contributed to the resistance wars against the French and the Americans have long inspired 55-year-old sculptor Lai Thi Kim Thanh, a native of Long An Province who now lives in HCM City.
With her own expense, the sculptor has travelled to every corner of the country with hopes of meeting and sculpting her idols – the mothers who lost children to the war and the courageous women who were soldiers, commandos, spies, messengers and guerrilla fighters.
“I think it is my responsibility to record images of the women, because in a few years or so, they will pass away,” Thanh said at the opening of her art exhibition at the Women’s Cultural House in HCM City yesterday.
“I always keep a big piece of clay with me whenever I go somewhere,” she added.
In 2006, after meeting Vietnamese Heroic Mother Bui Thi Me, Thanh decided to focus on the women who had contributed to the country’s reunification efforts.
Over a 10-year period of travel to mostly rural areas around the country, she created at least 100 sculptures of the women she admires.
“I want young generations to see the mothers’ sacrifices for the Vietnamese people and the country’s liberation,” she said. “With these examples, I hope young people will decide to help their families and society.”
When meeting an heroic mother, Thanh first asks her if she is willing to pose for her.
“They agree immediately following my explanation,” she said. “When I listen to the mothers talk about their lives, careers and family situations, strange feelings come over me.”
On display at the exhibition are sculptures of 32 women who have been awarded either one or both of the titles Hero of the People’s Armed Forces and Vietnamese Heroic Mother.
There are also artworks featuring female general Nguyen Thi Dinh, heroines Vo Thi Sau, Nguyen Thi Ba, and Nguyen Thi Hanh.
Twelve of the women, portrayed in plaster, brass or mixed media, are from Long An Province, an area with one of the highest number of Heroic Mothers in the country.
Thanh said the exhibition was held on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Southern liberation and national reunification, which falls on April 30.
The works can be seen at the Wo