Art of war: Propaganda posters paint a different picture of Vietnam

By Dean Irvine CNN

HO CHI MINH CITY (CNN) — Trekking through the forest with hardened front line soldiers and living under the threat of American bombers: it’s not the normal experience for art school students, but it was one faced by hundreds in Vietnam during the country’s conflicts that raged between 1954 and 1975.

From post-colonial struggles to the battles to reunify a Vietnam partitioned after the 1954 Geneva Accords, North Vietnamese artists were key in taking the messages of Ho Chi Minh to the front line of battle and to a population across both sides of the divide.

Visually arresting, cheap and effective, Vietnamese propaganda posters weren’t meant to last, but their messages were.

“The posters are a historical document but also illustrative of the use of art and development of artists in the country,” says Richard di San Marzano, curator of the Dogma Collection of Vietnamese propaganda art

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