British Museum collections, £12.99
Height: 550.000 mm
Width: 775.000 mm
Asia OA 1998.12-15.01
Nguyen Cong Do, an original design for a poster
Vietnam, signed and dated, 1973
'Diligently produce and prepare for combat'
This poster design shows a Vietnamese soldier with a stylized AK-47 assault rifle, accompanied by an armed woman carrying a sheaf of wheat. The soldier's collar badges indicate the rank of Private, First Class in the North Vietnamese army.
Throughout the American-Vietnam War, farm workers were encouraged to produce and harvest food but to be ready at all times to contribute to the war effort. A ceasefire was agreed in late January 1973, when this poster was made, so that American troops could be withdrawn. However, the peace was meaningless and war continued for a further two years until 30 April 1975.
Nguyen Cong Do (born 1930) joined the army in 1949, fighting against the French. He worked as a journalist and also created propaganda posters. He then worked for the army's publishing house until 1956. After a period studying photography and film making in East Germany, he returned to Vietnam in 1963 and was sent by the army to the Fine Arts College, where he graduated in 1968. He returned to the army in 1970, where he concentrated on drawing posters, and the army publishing house provided him with a studio at the head office of their Political Department.
J. Harrison-Hall, Vietnam Behind the Lines: Imag (London, British Museum Press, 2002)