Woman at war_cover_for view




We are delighted to announce the forthcoming, history-making exhibition:

The unseen portraits of Vietnamese women at war 1951- 1975 : a forgotten history.

This will be the first time this unknown collection of art, and what it witnesses, has been exhibited outside Vietnam, and the first time visual testimony of a little known and forgotten history can be viewed which deals with  the extensive direct and essential participation of women in all aspects of  the Vietnam war.

The paintings created by more than thirty different artists over a quarter of a centaury constitute a valuable collection and a shed light on the courage and dignity of women in the most difficult of times.

The quality and variety of works seen together for the first time provided testament both to this largely un-known aspect of Vietnamese history: the role played by women and  presence of artists in the frontlines of the war.

The art works had their domestic premier in 2016 at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Hanoi and are from the Front Line collection, a non-political and non-profit privately owned collection based in Australia.

CONVERSATIONPRIVEE.COM / OFF-THE-RECORDMESSAGING.COM intends to provide essential on-going support to groundbreaking projects that re-write out perception of history for a better future.


Essay on Vietnamese women at war by Richard Asinari di San Marzano* – Curator – Spoleto – Italy.

Woman at war catalogue_final_for view(1) – Copie

This catalogue contains paintings and drawings by 28 artists who created their works on or near the frontline in Vietnam’s long struggle for independence, mostly whilst embedded with the Viet Minh, the National Liberation Front (NLF), or the North Vietnamese Army (NVA).

Some were commissioned artists, there to record heroic deeds and victories, inspire and produce propaganda to support the resistance efforts and to help maintain morale.

Others were amateur artist-soldiers who documented their personal war time experiences and friendships and found solace through art when free from action. 

They all carried their art materials on their backs and many made the long, arduous and dangerous trek down the Truong Son, or Ho Chi Minh Trail, to the South. 

They created their art in and around the battlefield frontlines.

This selection of works from the extensive Frontline Collection is devoted to portraits and depictions of women and is intended to help bring greater recognition to this extraordinary period of time when so many young artists took to the field to draw and paint, and especially to pay homage to the “Long Haired Army” of which it is said “there has never been an army quite like it”; the ever beautiful and resolute women of Vietnam.

The history of Vietnamese women as warriors, and significantly at times as leaders of men into battle, dates back two thousand years. History provides dramatic and enduring examples of their courage, fortitude, martial spirit and frequent willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for their land and freedom.

To fully appreciate and put into perspective the comprehensive involvement and combative role that women played in the Vietnam wars of the 20th century, one needs to reflect on their essential participation in the history of Vietnam’s repeated struggles with invaders and to consider the strong matriarchal origins which clearly defined a significant part of the early nature of the people of the land of Vietnam.

The heroic role women have played in the history of the country comprises a vivid and evocative fusion of history, myth and symbolism.  Their most celebrated deeds form essential elements in the psyche and national identity of the country, the defence of which many famed leaders and untold numbers of ordinary women have gone to battle.

This is a legacy that finds expression in the well known traditional saying, of which there are various versions: “when war comes even the women must fight”, or “when the enemy is at the gate, even the women go out fighting”.

This oft repeated folklore is explicit acknowledgment of the expected sacrifice that Vietnamese women repeatedly had the courage and the will to make.

The most celebrated manifestation of their leadership and valour is found in the epic deeds and sacrifice of the famed Trung sisters (c.40 AD), and those of the third century war leader and revolutionary, Trieu Au (c.248 AD) whose exploits are a remarkable blend of myth and fairy tale.

That Queens can demonstrate inspiring leadership at times of turmoil and war is well accepted, however women leading men into battle is far more uncommon. The fact that Vietnam has witnessed repeated such occurrences is highly unusual.

*Richard Asinari di San Marzano is Goodwill Ambassador & Chief of Staff for EG3 PARIS FILM FESTIVAL ( ETHICS, GOVERNANCE & GREEN GROWTH PARIS FILM FESTIVAL ).


Richard di San Marzano
cell: +39 347 919 6323