24 August â€“ 3 September
Call it what you will – visual rhetoric, socialist realism, dogma – this vibrant exhibition of Vietnamese propaganda
art at Centralâ€™s Institute of Technologyâ€™s Showcase Gallery, spans â€˜the golden age of the Vietnamese revolutionary posterâ€™, from the mid1960s through to the 1980s. These were decades of great economic hardship for its people as they fought under Ho Chi Minh and his VCP for political reunification with the South; a split (17th parallel) ratified by the Geneva Agreements of 1954 after French occupation.
The exhibition spans the American war of 1965 -73: fall of the southern government in 1975: war with China (1979) and famine well into the 1980s; plus Vietnamâ€™s occupation of Cambodia (1978 -1989) and finally the revolution of Doi Moi in 1986 when Vietnam opened its doors to the world and introduced a market economy. The rallying patriotism of propaganda posters incited pride and gave vent to hope and determination for the countryâ€™s citizenry.
These works were produced by artists who, on leaving the military, continued their careers as â€˜national art workersâ€™ at the Ministry of Information, where there was no freedom of expression but rather the directive to produce works on patriotic themes. The ravages of war and famine ensured limited resources so posters were simply copied from the originals or were a product of monotone offset printing with the colours added by hand. Often they were reproduced in national print runs. Tempera (pigment mixed with emulsion) was the medium used to paint.
The exhibition runs daily from the 24 of August until 3 September 2011, from
11am â€“ 4.45pm.