War memory is beauty in modern life

(VOVworld) – The French cultural center, L’Espace, is hosting a unique exhibition. The exhibits are remnants from wars in Vietnam such as the fragments of planes and bullet shells whose original purpose has been transformed. They have become daily utensils or interesting toys for children. VOV introduces the exhibition “Born in 1983/ Kham Thien”.

War remnants are transformed into a see-saws

War remnants are transformed into a see-saws

Bang Nhat Linh, author of the installation, said he was born in 1983 in Kham Thien street, Hanoi, 8 years after the war against the American troops ended. His generation did not live in wartime, but memories of the war were always around him. The people of Kham Thien street often talk about the war and the tragedy in 1972, when the street was bombarded over 12 days and nights under the US operation Linebacker II. It was the biggest air strike by the US air force since World War II. Bang Nhat Linh said the war theme is not new but he has expressed it from the viewpoint of the young generation. “The installation is arranged from my perspective of a person born in Kham Thien street after the war. I spent my childhood there. I used to play near bomb craters, which are now small ponds. People around me often tell me about their memories of the street. I made an exhibition with the feeling of a person born after the war when there is no more pain and loss and there is a positive attitude towards overcoming difficulty and moving on.”

Bang Nhat Linh graduated from the Hanoi University of Fine Art and had some impressive installations. He spent 7 years collecting 50 items for this installation. Linh said the pieces he likes most are fragments of the MiG-21, the major fighter jets of the Vietnamese air force in the war against the US. He has transformed many items such as bullet shells, guns, and cannons into flower vases, glasses, and water tanks. They are engraved with beautiful images.

A photo frame made from war plane fragments

A photo frame made from war plane fragments

Linh produces see-saws and chairs for children using pieces from fighter jets. He particularly likes these products because they were made from weapons of destruction. Linh said: “I like these products and try to collect them. Some of my friends traveled somewhere, saw things they knew I would like and bought them for me. We also share the items among a group of people who share the same hobby. It’s meaningful because destructive things have been transformed into children’s toys.”

During the exhibition, Linh screens a documentary about a veteran from the Bru ethnic minority group in Quang Tri province. He turns bomb craters in the mountains into fish ponds. For people who were born after the war, the war in their mind are stories about the survivors and how they live. Linh said the documentary was the best way to bring the post-war generation closer to the wartime experiences of people, who still bear on their bodies the scars of war. “I want young visitors see items from the past and how our ancestors lived. People of each generation will have different views of the past. These transformed products will make the feeling of the war less painful and perhaps people will try to do something to make a better future.”

Linh said “Born in 1983/Kham Thien” is the curtain raiser on a project by the post-war generation to look back at national history.

Vinh Phong



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