About HUONG and Her "Artbiography"
As an artist, former journalist, mother, Vietnam War refugee and fervent social activist, Huong has communicated her message for peace for more than 30 years. A self-taught artist, she has launched over 80 exhibits throughout the U.S. and Canada. Collectively, her paintings form a body of work that is rare and perhaps unprecedented in addressing issues of war and peace. Many have compared her work to that of Pablo Picasso’s war protest, Guernica.
Huong was a 25-year-old mother and
Vietnamese journalist when she escaped her war-torn country in 1975
on the eve before the fall of Saigon, catching one of the last
refugee life boats and wearing only one shoe while clutching her
infant son. She soon embarked upon a journey that took her to Guam,
then to California, and finally to Alaska, where she soon swapped
her pen for a brush.
In Alaska, she painted the beauty around her and nurtured the opportunity for a new life of promise. She learned to carve and paint with the Eskimos, and art soon became the source of her livelihood. At the time, most of her work was of Alaskan landscapes. Soon, she exhibited in galleries across the country and eventually settled in South Florida in the late 1980s. Shortly after came the urge to paint out the passions within her.
In 1991 when the fist Iraq War
began, as she describes it, “I came face to face with the
memory of the war and my demons. The numbed grief inside leaked out.
The memories poured out and ached within me.” And so, she
took responsibility for this call to action, justice, and a sense
In the words of
the Artist herself:
By fate or by chance, on that
ominous day in 1975, I was destined to begin the journey that would
forever change my life. I was a child of war in Vietnam.
Today, I am a woman of peace. I have grown into the wounds of that
war. My art is my story, my artbiography, and in each unique
way, the story of us all.
All of us are children of war-- the
same war with different names. One does not have to be on the
battlefield, in a jungle, or in the desert to be a victim of
war. In our genes, we carry every war that has ever been fought.
All of us are victims and survivors who in one way or another
have been wounded. But I am an optimist. I believe human beings
have the capacity to create peace both within themselves and
with others. I remember all too well, running, pushing, falling. I
remember feeling the blood throbbing through my veins. I remember
the grenades, the blinding explosions, the piles of human
rubble, the vacant eyes staring ahead as my terror swelled.
Then, I lost my shoe. I thought I should leave the other shoe so those left behind could use it. I hadn’t thought that there would be many who would need just one shoe. I kept running, my son clinging to me, sharing my sweat and my fear.
We were lucky. We climbed into the
boat to life -- one mother, one child, one diaper, one shoe. For 14
days and 14 moon-lit nights I journeyed, looking into the sea
and watching bobbing heads coming up for breath, others sinking into
the sea screaming. Exile to the sea was bittersweet. I was
thankful to be alive and with my child, but much of my family was
left behind. My father, a commander in the South Vietnamese Army,
was in a wretched stink hole of a Viet Cong prison. He would
spend 9 years there and upon release, died of cancer. My brothers
were both dead, one by the hand of the enemy, the other by his
own hand. The fate of my husband, my mother, my sisters -- all
Exile to the sea could not wash away the scars. I turned my back to the war and to my home. Six weeks later, carried by hope and grit, I entered upon a miracle, the shores of California. I climbed out of that boat and hit the ground running.
Again. I wanted to be sure I would
not again be displaced. My life was lost behind in a tortured land
of carnage, brokenness, and decayed dreams. I had my child to keep
me alive by knowing I needed to keep him alive. I was then and am
today, a survivor. But at times I feel the guilt of surviving. I
would spend my life proving that I was worthy of it.
My art reflects my journey and the journey of the people of the 20th and 21st centuries. It reflects the woundedness of us all. -- Huong, 2007
About the Peace
While Huong’s paintings capture
every consequence of war, so does
The Peace Mural.
It exposes the consequences of war in all its nakedness—the
“collateral damage” also known as human beings. It was imperative
that she bring the public into the art itself. It is about
their lives too.
This monumental project has multiple
themes: peace, war, Voices of Children dead or alive, the Voices of
the troops, Mothers in war, the Peace of all Nations, the Flag at
War, the Displaced, the Orphaned and the Refugees, the Disabled the
Tortured. It is a combined effort. Each participant adds his or
her own experience and ideology and, in turn, is also shaped
by the dialogue. How they see it and what they bring forth is at the
core of contemplating war and "thinking peace."
Huong has been invited by many people around the country to bring this mural so that people can sign on for peace and make a difference. Just imagine if this mural could travel to every state, have a place to set up and encourage the citizens of our country to write their thoughts and beliefs, and to add their art to that of others. We could have a mural to embrace our country, our mandate for Peace.
Nguồn : Talkingthewalk.net