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New York City Display Captures Sights,
Sound of VietNam
By: Tini Tran-AP

HANOI, Vietnam. A $1.5 million exhibit, jointly funded by U.S. and Vietnam sponsors, will bring the sights, sounds and scents of contemporary Vietnam to the American public. It will open in New York next spring, year 2003, organizers said.

"Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind and Spirit" will showcase traditional Vietnamese crafts in wood, ceramic and textiles in combination with photographs, video and other multimedia elements to provide slices of everyday life in the Southeast Asian country.

The show is being jointly organized by the American Museum of Natural History and Vietnam's Museum of Ethnology.

The rare event is an attempt to show the American public new images of a country typically associated with a painful war, said Ellen Futter, president of the U.S. museum.

"One of the things the show will do is offer the journey from the memory of the war to reconciliation to what we hope will be a new enlightenment and period of understanding. That begins with a new representation and a new image of Vietnam," Futter said at a news conference in Hanoi.

"I don't think American people are exposed to modern Vietnam, so it's an extraordinary opportunity for them to see the vibrancy of different cultures and life here," she said.

Scenes from the exhibit, collected by U.S. curator Dr. Laurel Kendall and Vietnamese curator Dr. Nguyen Van Huy, include a bicycle carrying kiln-fired ceramics to market and a traditional wooden family altar, complete with lit incense and offerings of fruit and flowers.

The exhibit will stay in New York for about nine months before touring the United States. The exhibition returns to HaNoi in 2005.


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