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Huynh Phuong Dong

This book presents a richly illustrated introduction to the life and work of one of Vietnam's most esteemed artists. Produced in Vietnam under the auspices of the Indochina Arts Partnership and the Saigon Cultural Publishing House, this volume presents the work of Vietnamese artist Huynh Phuong Dong. Born in Saigon in 1925, Dong participated in the final thirty years of Vietnam's long struggle for independence. He distinguished himself as a combat artist, creating sketches and drawings of scenes of battle, troops in action, and daily life in the guerilla bases, along with portraits of his comrades, both leaders and ordinary soldiers. From these studies, he would work up watercolors or oils later, as soon as a break in the fighting permitted. Many battle scenes are presented in nightmarish shades of red, reflecting the horror of combat. Dong's portraits are more intimate; he knew each subject and many of them did not survive the war. Dong himself was wounded in action in 1951 and again more seriously in 1969 during a B-52 air raid. He fought continuously during the American War for twelve years and was separated from his wife for a decade. But he survived and in the process created a body of work that has come to be treasured in his country. Along with 110 color reproductions of Dong's art - 75 images of war and 35 images of peace - the book includes a biographical essay by Lindsey Kiang and a critical assessment by art historian Johanna Branson. The entire text is presented in both English and Vietnamese.
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About the Author

Now retired, LINDSEY KIANG practiced corporate law and served as general counsel to Yale University. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, from which he retired as colonel.


"Mr. Dong produced a body of work that is remarkable, first, because it exists at all, given the circumstances in which he lived, and second, for its steady gaze, its coherence of approach. It is evidence of endless resourcefulness in the face of material constraints (chewed twigs for brushes, drawings hidden buried in metal cases). It is also the art of someone who was both watchful and engaged, a boy and then a man who was a compulsive drawer, who constantly recorded the people around him, but who did so from an embedded vantage point. This has yielded an art that provides a strangely intimate experience. Originally made for his fellow soldiers and countrymen, this art is now available years later to a much wider audience - readers who find themselves looking through his eyes, sharing his point of view, regardless of the history they themselves bring to the scenes he presents.... His images reveal an artist whose long life has been spent ensuring that the remarkable events in which he participated were not erased." - Johanna Branson, Massachusetts College of Art"

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