First Graphic Exhibition on Vietnam's Agent Orange in France

Young artist Tram Anh shared was born and raised in France, but reading articles about Agent Orange in Vietnam inspired her work.

Visitors view a graphic painting of Vietnam's Agent Orange by artist Tram Anh. Photo: VNA

The overview of the Agent Orange problem in Vietnam, from history to the present, from causes to consequences, is all reflected in 10 graphic paintings of a young girl named Vo Tram Anh, a French overseas Vietnamese.

On the 60th anniversary of the Agent Orange disaster in Vietnam on August 7 at the headquarters of the Association of Vietnamese in France (UGVF) in Paris, the Vietnamese Youth Association (UJVF) in France collaborated with Collectif Vietnam Dioxine to open a graphic exhibition about Agent Orange by artist Tram Anh.

This is the first time the Agent Orange theme has been presented in this form and exhibited in France.

Using comics combined with graphics, young artist Tram Anh has successfully recreated the Agent Orange disaster during the Vietnam War period: the devastated land, the victims carrying their own grief, suffering with disfigured bodies, the struggles for justice and the cooperation and assistance of French and overseas Vietnamese to ease the pain.

Tram Anh said: "I was born and raised in France, but read my father's articles about Agent Orange in Vietnam, and looked at the pictures he took of the deformed children caused by dioxine, I can imagine their pain, and when participating in activities to support Agent Orange victims held in France such as the case of Tran To Nga, I thoght needed to do something to support these victims. Since then I decided to draw pictures, combined with graphic information to tell the story of Agent Orange in a friendly, easy to understand, humorous, but no less moving way."

French people come to see the exhibition of graphic paintings about Agent Orange in Vietnam. Photo: VNA

According to Tram Anh, Agent Orange in Vietnam is a complex issue related to environment and society.

She has chosen a graphic painting style to be able to summarize a lot of information through a vivid, friendly, concise, easy-to-understand story-telling style, but still carries the message that she wants to convey and attract the attention of the public, especially young French and Vietnamese young people born and raised in France like her.

For the first time as a graphic artist, Tram Anh received the enthusiastic cooperation of Collectif Vietnam Dioxine in collecting materials and information related to this topic.

Vo Dinh Kim, coordinator of Collectif Vietnam Dioxine, a member of the organizing committee, said: "The exhibition is one of the activities to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the U.S. military spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam. We want to tell the story of Agent Orange in this country, the pain that the victims have to endure, so that we can spread our activities to protest against Agent Orange, and demand justice for the victims."

He also said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people could not come to the exhibition in large numbers, so the organizers took advantage of social platforms such as Facebook or Instagram to introduce the event more widely.

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The opening ceremony of the exhibition of graphic paintings about Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam by artist Tram Anh, August 7 in Paris. Photo: VNA

The public in the country and around the world wishing to view the exhibition online, which runs until Sept. 18, can contact the Organizing Committee via email or come see it directly at the headquarters of UGVF at 18 Petit Musc Street, District 4 (Paris).

During the past 60 years, the sequelae of Agent Orange/dioxin are still present in Vietnam. There is still a significant amount of dioxin in some areas, damaging the environment.

More than 4.8 million people in Vietnam have been suffering from the consequences of herbicides. The damage to health, environment and society is immeasurable.

Every year, the Vietnamese government spends more than VND10,000 billion (US$434,6 million) to subsidize, provide health care and rehabilitation for Agent Orange victims, and support especially difficult areas due to the heavy impact of herbicides.

Artist Tram Anh, with a graphic painting, introduces a project to help the families of Agent Orange/dioxin victims in Vietnam. Photo: VNA

In the process of overcoming the consequences of war and chemical warfare, the Vietnamese people have received great support and assistance from people all over the world

For many years, associations such as UGVF, UJVF, France-Vietnam Friendship Association, and Collectif Vietnam Dioxine have organized many practical activities to help Agent Orange victims in Vietnam.

There are many activities in support of the victims' struggle for justice, including the lawsuit of Tran To Nga, a French overseas Vietnamese, Agent Orange victim, suing 26 chemical companies for supplying herbicides for the U.S. military during the war.