David Thomas, who took part in the U.S. Army’s operations in Vietnam’s Central Highlands during the war, and 21 Vietnamese artists opened an exhibition Monday to highlight the healing power of art in Hanoi.
The exhibition, named “David Thomas and Friends”, will remain open to visitors until the end of April 29 at the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum at 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ba Dinh District.
The U.S. veteran exhibits graphic works created during his fight against Parkinson’s disease in recent years. In 2015, Thomas was diagnosed with the disease, one of the causes of which is said to be exposure to Agent Orange during wartime.
After seeing X-ray films of his brain, he created visual images of the battle with the disease. He used digital printing to combine images of his own brain with abstract motifs to show the harms of the toxic chemical, thus voicing his opposition against the war.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese artists, including Bui Hai Son, Dao Chau Hai, Le Huy Tiep, Le Kinh Tai, Vu Bach Lien and Vu Kim Thu, bring to the exhibition their new artworks on the beauty of art, the connection of emotions and aesthetic, the companionship in life and a common view of the future.
They are all contemporary artists who have participated in art programs in the U.S. and Vietnam through the non-profit Indochina Arts Partnership founded by the American in 1988.
Thomas, born in 1946 in Portland, Maine, the U.S., joined the U.S. Army in the war in Vietnam in the region from 1969-70. He returned to the U.S. in 1970 and created artworks of the Vietnamese people.
Thomas visited Vietnam in 1987, and the trip sped up his aspiration for him to build the Indochina Arts Partnership which has helped develop cultural exchange between the two countries over the past more than 30 years.
He was the first foreigner conferred with Vietnam’s For Cultural Cause Medal, in 1999.
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