Last summer while in Bangkok I bought a book at Asia Books that was published a few years ago by the Fine Art Publishing House in Vietnam. It is called Important and Priceless Works of Vietnamese Modern Arts and contains images of paintings, sketches and political comics that come from the private collection of a Thai art collector, Mr. Tira Vanichtheeranont.
There are a lot of great works of art in this book, but the works that I find particularly fascinating are political comics from the 1950s that were meant to educate people about land reform. There area couple such political comics in this book, one of which was produced by an artist by the name of Phan Thông.
In the images we see the landlord and his wife eating a big feast.
We then see poor farmers eating manioc and sweet potatoes since they have no rice.
We also see the landlord hiding the French Tricolor, a sign of his true sympathies.
And in yet another example of the landlord’s evilness, we see him beating peasants.
After enduring such treatment by the landlord, the peasants decide to unite together and denounce him.
They do so at a nighttime struggle session.
And then the peasants get land and enjoy prosperity, as this image of this happy family indicates.
There are more images to this political comic strip, and there are many more images of paintings and sketches in this book. Mr. Tira Vanichtheeranont’s should surely be commended for collecting and preserving what are not only priceless works of modern Vietnamese arts, but are also priceless historical documents as well.