English: US and Vietnamese Artists Express Shared Values and Feelings Through Art Exhibition

David Thomas, a U.S. war veteran, will be exhibiting his paintings alongside 21 contemporary Vietnamese artists in a show that celebrates the transformative potential of art.

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An extraordinary exhibition featuring artwork by US veteran/visual artist David Thomas and Vietnamese painters exploring the healing power of art, companionship in life, and a vision of the future is set to open in Hanoi on April 24. The one-of-a-kind show will provide a unique opportunity for viewers to experience the inspirational works of these renowned artists. Attendees will be able to witness how art can be used as a tool to promote peace, unity, and hope for a better tomorrow. Don’t miss out on this remarkable event!

The exhibition, David Thomas and Friends, highlighted his printmaking during his recent battle with Parkinson’s disease, which was caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Thomas’ work was a testament to his strength and resilience, despite the hardships he faced. Visitors to the exhibition got a unique insight into his life and the impact of the war on him.

This complete series was presented in a group exhibition entitled Finding Parkinson, featuring David Thomas and printmakers from Boston, at the Danang Fine Art Museum in mid-April 2023.

He was stunned when he looked at the images.

On December 14, 2020, David Thomas was amazed when he saw his brain for the first time. His neurologist had ordered an MRI scan of his brain to monitor the progression of his Parkinson’s disease. After the scan, he requested a CD containing slices of his brain from the technician. When he looked at the images, he was amazed, and it was a surreal experience for him.

“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the CD I had found, but I had to find out what it contained. After examining hundreds of slices, I was amazed to think that this intricate organ could contain information about me and my whole life,” he said.

He then combined these Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) images with other symbols to create artworks that depict beautiful memories and hopes for the future.

The David Thomas and Friends exhibition showcases artworks from 21 Vietnamese artists who have taken part in exhibitions and art exchange programs organized and funded by the Indochina Art Partnership (IAP). Spanning an impressive 30 years from 1989 to 2019, these artists have not only developed professional interests, but have also forged lifelong friendships and become cultural witnesses to the end of a 20-year war.

 Painter Le Huy Tiep and veteran David Thomas at an event in Boston. Photo courtesy of David Thomas

After more than a year stationed in the sun-scorched and wind-swept Pleiku of Tay Nguyen (the Central Highlands), he returned from the war with memories not of the dusty battlefields or the acrid smoke of gunfire, but of the smiles of highland children who crowded around the jeep he had stopped in the villages.

“The Vietnam War” appears to have been a constant presence in the collective consciousness of Americans during that period. But for David Thomas, it was a different experience altogether. Having traveled to the Southeast Asian country, he was able to appreciate the beauty of its people, the poetic nature of their souls, and their strength in the face of conflict and war.

Returning to Vietnam in 1987, David Thomas embarked on a personal mission to reconnect with his past. He had no idea that this journey would take him back and forth between the U.S. and Vietnam a dozen times over the following three decades. Eventually, Vietnam became a part of his life, a second home, where he formed deep connections with friends and family, and felt a profound sense of belonging.

One year later, in the summer of 1988, Davis Thomas established the non-profit organization, Indochina Art Partnership (IAP). Through its diplomatic, cultural, and artistic endeavours, IAP became a bridge between Vietnam and the United States, providing a platform for hundreds of Vietnamese artists and intellectuals to work and visit the US, and for dozens of American artists and intellectuals to visit Vietnam over the past 30 years. Numerous exchange programs have been conducted by IAP in order to facilitate these meetings.

The David Thomas and Friends exhibition is open to the public until April 29 at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum on 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh District. Don’t miss your chance to experience this unique display of art!

The exhibition features a variety of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Visitors will have the opportunity to view a selection of works from renowned modern and contemporary artists. From abstract expressionism to street art, the exhibition showcases a diverse range of styles and mediums.

 An artwork of David Thomas.
 Artworks by Le Huy Tiep.
 Artwork of Le Kinh Tai.
 A sculpture by Le Lang Luong.
 An installation art by Pham Huy Thong.
 Minh Rong (Dragon Body) by Phan Cam Thuong.
 An artwork by Nguyen The Son.
 A portrait by Vu Bach Lien.