Phan Thanh Tam holding a propaganda poster he designed during his art school period. It features soldiers marching under a full moon under the guidance of Uncle Ho. This image inspired a famous song: 'Bac van cung chung chau hanh quan' which became a widely known and popular 'hit' at the time, as well as a morale builder.
In 1967, Tam embarked on the arduous and dangerous journey South on the Trung Son or Ho Chi Minh Trail, as it is known to the outside world. His was a quite rapid three month trek into South Vietnam and thus he became a rare and highly respected artist veteran who painted on the front lines of both the French and Vietnam - American Wars.
Conceived as a strategy both to help maintain morale, and to spread propaganda art, artists of various disciplines were attached to a special 'Literature and Arts' Division of the Armed Forces called 'Van Nghe'. The artists included those who served in theatre groups, singers, writers, and dancers, most of whom travelled with, and sometimes even fought alongside, the combatants of the NVA regulars and NLF.