Above, the Dien Bien Phu battlefield in 1955, one year after the historic event. A watercolour by Pham Thanh Tam.
Tam returned home to Hanoi the year following the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and was moved to see flowers growing through a shattered French helmet. The above work was painted on a page of his notebook, hence the script visible through the transparency of the paper.
Even in 1956 there was a shortage of material for artists to work with and recycling of this kind goes some way to herald what was to come when maps, charts, posters, and even fine life drawings were re-used to produce propaganda posters. Examples of this recycling may be found amid the ?On the Reverse Side' and 'The Forgotten Pictures' Galleries.
Tam's talents were quickly noticed by his companions and superiors who recommended that he devote himself to drawing and writing about army life.
In the intervening years that culminated in open conflict with the US, her allies and proxies, Tam carried on developing his skills and was involved with illustrative, propaganda and journalistic activities on behalf of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), during the period when War was in the air and the National Liberation Front (NLF) was active in the South.
Following is a design for the first issue of an army magazine. There were such limited printing resources at the time that the edition was produced by hand.