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About the Work

Left Panel: Red River Crossing

The left panel of the diptych shows the 'Long Bien bridge' which spans the Red River. It was constructed in 1900 by the French and has been of economic and social importance ever since. Consequently it was a prime target for repeated B52 attacks throughout the Vietnam War. Between each bombing, the Vietnamese somehow managed to repair the bridge and keep it open. The result is a fantastic hotch potch.

Right Panel: A Neighbourhood in Hanoi

From the deck of the bridge, I photographed 'A Neighbourhood in Hanoi'. Here I could see, laid out like a quilt before me, a panorama of everyday neighbourhood life. A woman pegs out washing and smiles at the camera. A pair of shoes is neatly laid out to dry. A straw mat emblazoned with the city's name awaits exchange for hard currency. The houses are of straw or corrugated iron. Neighbourhoods such as this quickly became a conflagration during the bombing. This one is right beside a prime target. The blackened surface of the few concrete walls left standing, attest to the war, my guide explained.

″I still use the same approach to my work: I get an idea, think of the title and then make the work. So not much has changed since 1964″

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