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Covid-19 Propanganda Posters Re-imagined as Đông Hồ Paintings

Sourcing inspiration from the traditional art of Đông Hồ, a group of young artists put a modern spin on classic paintings to deliver anti-pandemic messages through cheeky illustrations.

Much to everyone’s dismay, the art sector has taken a massive hit, with countless shows, exhibitions and performances being put to a halt following the re-emergence of COVID-19 in Vietnam. Despite this, artists are still pursuing creative endeavors in their own ways. Many have used their talents to help raise public awareness and provide a silver lining for the community during this challenging period.

Doubling down on this movement of using art to fight the pandemic, a group of students from FPT University came up with the idea of redesigning propaganda posters to help get the message across to young people. What is special is that these posters are witty adaptations of the iconic Đông Hồ paintings, some of which include ‘Đám Cưới Chuột' (Rat’s Wedding), 'Vinh Quy Bai To’ (Ancestral Worship), and ‘Đánh Ghen' (Jealousy Scene).

The project consists of 13 illustrations, with one central painting and 12 accompanying ones. Each illustration re-imagines a scene from the original artwork to reflect current social affairs in the time of the pandemic. Anti-pandemic slogans such as "wash your hands frequently" or "submit your health declaration" are also stylized to resemble Chinese and Nôm scripts to give the full retro effect.

The artists also made use of 2D motion processing techniques to make the illustrations more interactive. When viewers scan the attached QR code, they can see the moving version of the painting, where folk characters are left to deal with the mishaps of the pandemic and the ensuing chaos.

Lộc Nguyễn, the group's representative, told Saigoneer that he and his friends originally did the project as an entry for their university’s contest on COVID-19 prevention. The illustrations were reportedly completed within three weeks, with inspiration mostly from the internet and their instructors.

“We chose Đông Hồ paintings firstly because they are familiar to Vietnamese people, secondly because we wanted to promote how traditional assets can still have values in the modern world, especially in the context of the pandemic,” Lộc explains of his group’s decision to choose Đông Hồ art over other genres.

With their project, the young artists hope to breathe new life into old-school propaganda posters, making them more approachable and digestible for young people, thereby emphasizing the country's determination to fight the pandemic: "Through our illustrations, we want to remind people that COVID-19 is serious and that we need to take precautions of the highest measure.”

Check out more of these awesome ‘propaganda’ artworks below:

[Photo via Lộc Nguyễn's Behance]

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