Vietnamese artist interprets the horrors of war

April 7, 2007


Photo

Photo
Huong

By BILL DEYOUNG
bill.deyoung@scripps.com

April 3, 2007

JENSEN BEACH — With a series of large canvases called “The Flag at War,” the artist Huong depicts the American flag weeping over the current situation in the Middle East.The events that drove her to it were depressingly familiar.

“This is the issue we’re talking about today in our nation,” explained the 57-year-old native of South Vietnam, “the loss, the pain, the damage to all of us. The whole world. That’s the challenge of this new painting.”

“The Flag at War” will be unveiled at a 5-8 p.m. reception Thursday at the Art, War & Peace Museum in Jensen Beach, where Huong’s brutally visceral “War Pieces” canvases have hung since 2003.

Huong (pronounced “Hoong”) is no stranger to the devastation of war. The daughter of a colonel in the South Vietnamese army, she was a journalism major when the ’70s began. Her brother was killed in early 1975; her father spent nine years in a Communist POW camp.

When she was 25, Huong came to the United States. Journalism gave way to painting — and her work quickly turned to bloody red, first-person visualizations of war.

“As a war refugee, I thought about it for 20 years — could I deliver to you the emotion, the pain, the anger of the war?” she said.

“This is a new test for me. I got an American flag and I cut it to a hundred pieces. And in that flag, the red becomes the blood of all the innocent people, of all the soldiers, of all the damage. And the stars become the dove; the transformation that represents what’s American for all of us.

“We are not warmongers. We want peace. The people want to stop this war, and only the courage of the people who are working for world peace right now will become the dove from that flag.”

IF YOU GO:

What: Reception for “The Flag at War”

Where: Art, War & Peace Museum, 1970 N.E. Jensen Beach Blvd., Jensen Beach

When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday

Admission: Free

Contact: (772) 225-4005

Online: www.huong.org

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