Diary of A Young Artist is a beautiful reproduction of the diary notes and sketches of Vietnamese war artist Pham Thanh Tam, created in the Vietminh trenches while on the front line of the decisive battle of Dien Bien Phu. This publication marks the 50th anniversary of the battle against the French, widely considered as being one of the most decisive in history, equal to Waterloo and Stalingrad. The monumental consequences of Dien Bien Phu are the perfect example of the seemingly impossible feats that can be achieved by a local guerrilla force, determined to defend their homeland. The battle brought about the end of French colonial Indochina, the independence of Vietnam and the split of the country in two, so setting the stage for the American Vietnam War (1965-1975).
Pham Thanh Tam, born in 1932, was, at 22, one of a handful of official war artists embedded with Vietminh troops, fighting against the French for Vietnamese independence. He studied at the Hanoi Institute of Fine Arts, which took over from the Ecole des Beaux Arts d'Indochine created by the French in 1925.
Preface; Essay: Vietnam: From French Neo-Classicism to Socialist Realism, 1925-1946 by Jessica; Harrison-Hall, Assistant Keeper, Oriental Galleries, British Museum (pp6-15); Essay: Resistance, War and Revolution: Art for the People, 1946-1954 by Sherry Buchanan (pp16-25); Maps & Chronology of main artistic and historic events, 1945-1954 (pp26-31); Diary and Sketches by Pham Thanh Tam (pp32-217); Notes; Bibliography