Before I read Vietnam Eye, I didn’t really know or understand Vietnamese art. It wasn’t covered in my History of Art A-Level, or the Fine & Applied Arts section of my undergrad degree (both were unfairly weighted towards Western art, except for a token glance at Japanese woodblock prints), and I’d never knowingly learned about a Vietnamese art movement in galleries around the world.
However, the coffee table book Vietnam Eye (published by Skira) is a chance to understand contemporary Vietnamese artists, and the enduring themes they deal with. Many of the artists are graduates from the Vietnam University of Fine Arts, and their work now sits in galleries around the world. Here are some of my favourite discoveries from this new coffee table book.
Today marks Holocaust Memorial Day and, for as long as I can remember, this leads to annual news stories not just about commemorative events, but about the ignorance that a lot of us have around the Holocaust and everyone affected by it.
For a prime example, see the idiotic posers at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial, called out by the brilliant Yolocaust web project, which has now been taken down after mixed but generally positive feedback.
Sadly, anti-Semitism has never totally disappeared. There have been reports of Holocaust survivors being abused in the street and, in a cruel modern twist, Jewish Twitter users being targeted and mercilessly trolled because of their religion and heritage. Even Google search results have been manipulated by the far-right.
Have you ever been brave enough to make a U-turn in the middle of a big adventure, or were you too scared about what people might think if they saw you backing out? This new travel book throws you right in the thick of the dilemma as motorcycle fanatic Graham Field battles with a huge shift in the dynamic of his overland trip across two continents – fortunately he has ‘a free will and an ever-changing plan’ (p.392).
Armed with his trusty KLR650, a brilliant tank box and a not-so-brilliant Sat Nav, he’s prepared to take on embassy jobsworths, a history nerd in an Armenian cave network and whole hordes of tourists clogging up a supposed ghost town.
Calavera (Span. feminine noun) = skull. A travel blog with a love of culture, dark tourism and the unconventional.