Thursday, July 30, 2009

Art Brings Old Enemies Together

Ed, Carla, and Chris Wubbena visited the Hanoi Art University, and met with the former president and current president of the Vietnam Fine Art Association. The meeting brought former enemies to the same table. Below are some of Chris' impressions.

My mother and father had a great time seeing the students and looking at their artwork. We were also shown the University’s Art Museum where they had photos of the University in wartime. They explained to us that the school had to be moved to the countryside because it was being bombed by the US. After we were told that, I saw my father going over each photo, and I could tell that it was bothering him. He asked me to take photos of the photos and he said, he couldn’t believe that they had to move their art school because of what our country had done.

The day wound down nicely with a meeting with the former president and current president of the Vietnam Fine Art Association. The conversation was warm but ultimately found its way to the subject of war. The president mentioned, as he looked at my father, that he was in the war and although they were on different sides, that the war was in the past. Then he looked at me and said that now we have a new generation to help. I could not have said it better.

I am always amazed at what art can do. Our trip here to Vietnam began as an idea for a new body of artwork to explore the Vietnam/American War from many sides, from the side of US soldiers, to Vietnamese soldiers, to sons and daughters of veterans. But it has already grown to be much more. We have been reminded of who our friends are and have made wonderful new friends already throughout this project. Art has brought my father, mother, and I to Vietnam to understand all of our parts in true history and the celebration of cultures. I undoubtedly know that this is not only helping my father with his involvement in the war, it is helping others as well, both in the US and Vietnam.

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