Blog Home » Voices from the Frontlines

My Art Says: No More War, Anywhere, Ever!

18 November 2008 No Comment

Huong

Huong
USA/Vietnam

In 1975 the Vietnam War threw me halfway around the world to Alaska so I could meet my cousins, the Aleuts and the Inuits and the Russians. Eskimo culture was my first Western culture, and it proved to me the strength of humans to survive. These were frontier women – rock the baby, skin the bear, rock the baby – doing what they had to, to survive, just like Vietnamese women.

In Alaska I could throw away the negative parts of my Eastern heritage, keep the endurance and the strength and the beauty, and take on the best parts of the West, where women and men are equal. I was spared by the war, and now I was going to live.

God gave me all the beauty of that northern landscape, and at the end of 10 years in Alaska I had trained myself as an artist. Then I taught art to others at the community colleges in Anchorage and Juneau. In 1986, when Alaska got into a crisis with oil, I toured the country trying to sell everyone a ticket to see Alaska’s beauty. I had shows in Carmel, Dallas, Seattle, Palo Alto – more than 85 solo shows.

Then in 1995, the US opened an embassy in Vietnam. I thought: Vietnam is open now, but I still don’t want to look at the past. The nightmares started to come back and I knew I was strong enough to own them. I looked around and there were wars everywhere. There are a quarter of a million refugees in Darfur, and who will open the door for them?

I started protesting the wars and making art against the wars. People harassed me for protesting the first Gulf War in Iraq. I told them it was like seeing The Phantom of the Opera the second time. I grew up with this story. I know the characters, I know the turning points, I know how it comes out. This time I look and I understand and I have no fear.

When I was a child I was always scared, but I didn’t understand what was going on. This time the message was clear: No more war, anywhere, ever! My father, my brother, so many men I love have fallen in the hole their own government digs for them. I have climbed out of this hole. Now I must speak out in love and anger.

So I made my peace paintings and my war paintings. I paint the history of war to bring the public back to the facts, the truth of war history. You look, and then it’s your choice what to do. I want children in particular to be able to walk through the paintings of war and peace and choose what they want.

If you live in the Washington, DC, area, you can meet Huong and see her Peace Mural in Georgetown from Nov. 30 through January. NYC is next! Go to www.peacemural.org.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)