HCM CITY — Tien Giang native Vo Van Hai has made three Viet Nam maps from soil he collected at martyrs’ ceremonies to honour the fallen at Martyrs’ Day on July 27.
“After dying, people turn into dust. So I wanted to use soil at cemeteries to honour soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country,” Hai said.
“I have spent three years on travelling through 63 cities and provinces, islands of Con Dao, Phu Quoc, and Truong Sa to get soil and complete the maps,” he added.
The 59-year-old artist used 54 square-shaped pieces of wood to make frames for the maps, and decorated them with18 Lac birds, a kind of bird found in Vietnamese stories.
He said the pieces of wood symbolised the country’s 54 ethnic groups, and the Lac bird symbolised the 18 Hung Kings.
The smallest map was transferred to Truong Sa Islands yesterday, while the second one was placed at Hoa Lam in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Dong Thap for a prayer for peace.
The largest map will be presented to the Dak Lak Museum on Martyrs’ Day and will then be given to Hung Kings Temple in Phu Tho Province.
“I hope my works remind them of the older generations’ sacrifices to protect the country, as well as the traditional patriotism of Vietnamese,” Hai said.
Hai, who had been working as a vendor and motorbike taxi driver before becoming involved in art, has created several works from wood.
In 2013, Hai completed a collection of stamps made of wood. The stamps were based on images of Viet Nam’s 54 ethnic groups from a collection issued by the then Ministry of Post and Telecommunications in 2005.