I spent much of my weekend in Hanoi walking through the city's streets and getting a sense of the pace of life here. I tried a couple of local restaurants that were recommended in local blogs written by expats posted here. On Sunday evening, I found myself browsing hand-painted propaganda posters from the Ho Chi Minh era, with colorful inspiring images and slogans from the revolution. Then I chanced upon a collection of 61 sketches and water colors done by a Vietnamese soldier capturing his perspective of the Vietnam war. As I flipped through the images, I was struck by the circumstances within which these were created. We read and hear so much about the horrors of this war from the American side and now I was gazing at art being created by a soldier who chose to escape his reality by paradoxically capturing it on canvas. All the pictures were meticulously signed and dated with the location mentioned and occasionally a comment or two in the sidelines. I bought the whole lot (see link to entire collection here) as it reflects an important era in this emerging nation's history. I plan to meet the artist before I leave Hanoi. His name is Traan Huu Chaat and he's a well known local artist here with some of his works on display at the fine arts museum.
What do you think? Love to hear your comments.