The Gleaners and the Ghillies. 2008
120 x 80 cm
In this series, I interrogate the Vietnamese inheritance of French colonialism, specifically the Beaux Arts tradition, taking Jean Francois Millet's painting "The Gleaners" (1857) as a starting point. In this work, Millet elevates the plight of the working class as the Vietnamese socialist propaganda campaigns continue to do now. In a playful hacking of the original, in the photographs the "haystacks" in Millet's painting are replaced with young students in customized ghillies. Ghillies are specialized uniforms for military snipers that allow almost seamless camouflage into surrounding environments. However, they look absolutely ridiculous when not used in the context of combat and appearing instead like "big foot" or walking haystacks… (From the artist's statement)
© Photo: Rich Streitmatter-Tran
Vietnamese and Cambodian Contemporary Art. 15 artists and groups, Ke Center, Shanghai. Curated by Biljana Ciric.