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
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.