British Museum collections, £12.99
Height: 620.000 mm
Width: 830.000 mm
Purchased with the Brooke Sewell Permanent Fund
Asia OA 1999.6-30.02
Nguyen Thu, an original design for a poster
Vietnam, signed and dated, May 1970
'Uncle [Ho] is still fighting in our military operations [at the vanguard]'
Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969), identified by his sagely wispy beard, is shown here at Huy Oanh at the head of a platoon of well-equipped men, marching with canteens, backpacks and weapons. The second soldier carries a rocket propelled grenade launcher.
'Uncle Ho' was a charismatic leader during the American-Vietnam War (1965-75). He travelled to France in his youth and was a founding member of the French communist party in 1920. He studied in Moscow in 1923 and in 1925 was in Guangzhou as a Comintern agent. Late in 1930, when resistance to French rule was suppressed in Vietnam, he fled to Hong Kong where he was captured by British intelligence agents in 1931 and released as a political refugee in 1932. After more time in China and Russia he emerged as the leader of the Viet Minh in 1941. This poster, executed a year after Ho's death, was designed to maintain loyalty to his cause.
At the time this design was made, Nguyen Thu (born 1930) was a teacher at the Fine Arts College in Hanoi. He became vice-director in 1979 and director in 1985.
J. Harrison-Hall, Vietnam Behind the Lines: Imag (London, British Museum Press, 2002)