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Portrait of a southern mother (April 18, 2005)

That is the 60 x 90 cm gouache painting ‘Tung Gio Tung Phut Huong Ve Mien Bac’ (Every Hour, Every Minute Looking Towards the North) created by artist Le Lam in mid 1955. The painting reflects the south at the early period of the struggle for national reunification.

At that time, painter Le Lam of Hanoi, was aged of 24.

Although Le Lam was born and grew up in Hanoi, he has pursued the theme on the south. Over a period of ten years on the battlefield helped him create thousands of sketches. After the country’s reunification, some of them were repainted in oil. The painting ‘Every Hour, Every Minute Looking Towards the North’ is considered his first painting on the south.

The painting depicts a southern mother holding her child and looking towards the north while smoke and fire caused by the enemy are behind her.

The painting shows the belief and desire of the people in dangerous place and also the artist’s attitude towards the struggle for the liberation of the south and the country’s reunification.

The painting won second prize at the National Fine Art Exhibition in 1955, the first of its kind after peace was restored in the north. The painting was later repainted in traditional lacquer by artist Le Quoc Loc, at the State’s request, to present to the then Democratic Republic of Germany in 1956.

Most notably, the painting was also sent to the Chinese Fine Art Publishing House to print as postcards for worldwide distribution.

It’s a pity that the painting is now lost with just the postcards remaining. However, the painting enters history as a forceful evidence of the struggle for national freedom.

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper


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