Alaskan Woman to Make Big Impact on Washington –
WASHINGTON – Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin isn’t the only Alaskan woman trying to change public opinion in the nation’s Capitol.
Huong, a Vietnamese refugee whose powerful and emotional art stems back to her years in Alaska , is also coming to Washington, D.C. And unlike Palin, who once said the war in Iraq was “God’s will,” Huong has dedicated her life and art as a base for a growing, nationwide peace movement.
For the first time, Huong’s Peace Mural – an interactive, 8-foot-high and 600-foot-long exhibit of more than 2,000 paintings – will be on display in Washington , D.C. in conjunction with the non-profit Peace Mural Foundation. The exhibit will also feature powerfully cathartic paintings from Huong’s private War Pieces collection, which depict the horrors of war as the artist saw with her own eyes.
The dedication will take place at 2 p.m. on November 30, at 3336 M Street, NW in Georgetown . For more events in the area through Dec. 6, log on to www.peacemural.org.
“From Alaska to D.C., I have been working for 20 years to sell peace,” said Huong, who currently resides in Miami . “It was the voice of the American people that put a stop to the killing in Vietnam. I believe this voice still has the power to stop the insanity in Iraq and prevent war in Iran, Pakistan and elsewhere. I hope the new Administration will listen to the American demands for peace.”
Born in Vietnam the year the war began, this dynamic, talented artist studied journalism to document the atrocities of war until the fall of Saigon, when she escaped on a boat with her infant son. After many fellow passengers died, they eventually made it safely to the United States, and Huong found her way to Alaska .
With extremely limited English, she was unable to work as a journalist. Instead, she started to paint for the first time – focusing on the quiet, peaceful scenes of the Alaskan landscape. Early work featured puffins, walrus and fish, as well as abstract, interlocking figures of indigenous peoples cuddling to stay warm. Self-taught, she developed her talents and paid her bills by working at Kodiak Community College and eventually opened her own gallery in Kodiak, Alaska.
“Alaska helped to heal the pain in my heart,” Huong said. “I arrived a child of war and left a woman and artist for peace.”
Word of her talents soon spread, garnering her praise throughout the nation. She made her first impression on Washington in 1985, when she held a one-woman Alaskan Art Exhibit at the Russell Senate Office Building .
Eventually, she moved to Florida, where she had the courage to face the tumultuous memories of her past. By the early 90s, she was working passionately on her War Pieces collection, all haunting with thick oils filled with heartache and pain. She opened an Art, War and Peace Museum, where the Peace Mural – a piece designed to encourage reflection and dialogue about the peace and war – originated. She subsequently showed her work to much acclaim during Art Basel in Miami and at the University of Florida ’s campus in Gainesville.
The interactive Peace Mural explores themes such as Voices of Children; Voices of the Troops; Mothers in War; The Peace of all Nations; The Flag at War; The Displaced and the Disabled; The Cry of Refugees; and The Tortured.
Huong hopes, with this exhibit, viewers will see God’s will is truly one of peace.
“War is manmade; it is not God’s will,” Huong said. “We can stop it. If you and I will not speak for these war victims, who will?”
Quotes from Viewers
Here are some quotes from viewers of Huong’s recent exhibits in Miami and Gainesville , Fla. Log on to www.peacemural.org to read more:
“I am absolutely astounded by the incredible show you gave at Art Basel. The imagery, technique & colors are incredible. Your message of PEACE deserves to be heard by everyone world over. You are a true master!” -- Matt Sapero
“Huong is truly a gifted artist. She has lived what she has painted. Picasso would enjoy seeing this exhibit. Good luck and happiness to you!” -- Alice M. Lugrabi
“How can anyone be blind to the horrors of war after walking through this powerful exhibit? If anyone can wake people up to action, the peace message embedded in this overwhelming show should- Beautiful, powerful, necessary-“ – Catherine Milon
“This exhibit needs to be displayed all over the country!! The people who have never seen war or the aftermath of war cannot understand fully the fury of humans on this earth at this very moment. The power never win the willing of the people” – Gradi McGonagle
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