A selection of works by Vietnamese artists who documented the war in Vietnam are being presented in an exhibition entitled “Fractured” in Penang, Malaysia.
Conflict fragments lives, people and countries, yet turmoil inspires art. Inspired by conflict in Southeast Asia, this showcase includes works that explore the fragility and beauty of art that was inspired by human struggle.
The artworks, taken from the Witness Collection, were created by Vietnamese artists who documented the war in Vietnam, including daily life during the wartime. These so-called frontline artists’ work leads into those artists who found the subject of war a source of inspiration for new forms of expression.
Witness Collection’s works this year welcomes the participation of three visiting artists.
Blake Ward, a Canadian sculptor, who in 2003 became the first foreign artist to teach part of the official curriculum at the Vietnam Fine Arts University in Hanoi since the departure of the founding French teachers from the College in 1945. His “Fragments” series was inspired by the victims of explosive remnants of war. These deconstructed sculptures are each named after a landmine. They convey the enduring quality of man over his violent history. The artwork was created to raise awareness and fund landmine clearance in post-conflict countries.
George Burchett, was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, one year after the epic Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which marked the end of French colonialism in Indochina. He has exhibited internationally and has completed numerous art commissions in Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia. Since 2011, he lives and works back in Hanoi. His Resistance series depicts his fascination with the narratives of heroicism. Influenced by the work of his father, journalist Wilfred Burchett’s reporting on the Viet Cong struggles in South Vietnam, Burchett’s ‘VC Girls’ exemplify honour and selfless sacrifice.
Phan Dinh Khanh, is a recent graduate of the Fine Arts program at Hue College of Art and winner of the Tu Lap Young Talent 2017, a national youth art prize in Vietnam that is supported by Asiarta Foundation. His digital works depict the vantage point of an artist who is a direct product of this changing reality, one that results from and leads to art through conflict. The struggle has left scars and yet his digital art becomes the witness. “Looking through memory” is a direct analogy of the conflict expressed through multi-layered images, as in a dream. These memories conflict with each other and interact resulting in something new.
The exhibition “Fractured” will be on from 11 am – 9 pm, the 5th of August to the 3rd of September 2017 (period of George Town Festival), at gallery base2, 10th Floor, 8 Gurney, Gurney Drive, Penang, Malaysia.