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Light and belief: Sketches of life from the Vietnam War



Dinh Q. Lê


1968 –

No image
  • Details

    Media category
    Time-based art
    Materials used
    single channel digital video, colour, sound
    AP 1/3 [edition of 3 + 2AP]
    duration: 00:35:00 min
    Gift of Brian and Gene Sherman 2021. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Dinh Q Le
    Artist information
    Dinh Q. Lê

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Light and belief: Sketches of life from the Vietnam War is a film by Dinh Q. Lê featuring interviews with 11 artists commissioned to document Vietnam’s war of resistance against the US in the 1960s and 70s. The artists are: Le Lam, Phan Oanh, Nguyen Thu, Truong Hieu, Durong Ahn, Nguyen Toan Thi, Kim Tien, Vu Giang Huong, Quach Phong, Huynh Phuong Dong and Minh Phuong. Their drawings and paintings record moments of rest and daily life as well as battle. Many of the images are tender, showing people faced with trauma and death as they wished to be remembered.

    In her own words, artist Minh Phuong recollects, ‘… the reality was, people there, even with the war and everything happening they still liked us to draw peaceful scenes. They didn’t like to see guns and death.’ From time to time throughout Light and belief the artists, their surroundings and pictures are animated, adding an additional layer of visual intrigue to this complex and emotionally raw work. As Le Lam says, ‘the value of these war sketches aren’t in the lines on the paper … the value rests in the artist, who has made those lines on that paper. Who has drawn those things and remembered those times.’

    Dinh Q. Lê and his mother sought refuge from war in 1978 and settled in the United States. The artist, who specialises in video, photography and installation returned to live in Vietnam in 1996.