Vietnam 1954 – 1975 features the collection of Dato’ N Parameswaran, Malaysia’s ambassador to Vietnam from 1990 to 1993. Comprising posters, woodcuts, drawings and sketches, the collection is an important documentation of the Vietnamese response to the war and its perspective of a history that is usually remembered exclusively through international reportage and popular culture.
This exhibition presents a small selection from the range of media on loan to the NUS Museum for a period of three years, to prospect research and to facilitate teaching. The materials in the exhibition are organized in a chronological order, guided by a timeline of the Vietnam War, supplemented by contemporary accounts and quotes from literary sources to provide other perspectives to the events in the background of the depicted scenes. This essay introduces the background against which the works in the collection are produced, and also to indicate the presence of a diversity of materials beyond works from the North. These alternative materials give an indication to an ideological conflict that probably to some degree reflected the intensity of the military fighting. They are also a vehicle to lead us to consider the diversity of Vietnamese society in this long period of political and military fragmentation that we call “the Vietnam War.”