Accession Number AWM2019.213.6.7
Collection type Art
Measurement Sheet: 15.6 cm x 20.4 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description charcoal transfer with soil on paper
Maker Nguyen Thi Thanh, Mai
Place made Vietnam: Thua Tien Province, Hue
Date made 2019
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


During a research residency at the Australian War Memorial, Mai Nguyen Thi Thanh discovered the University of New South Wales research project, ‘Operation Wandering Souls’. 'Operation Wandering Souls' is a University of New South Wales research project, which seeks to identify the burial locations of North Vietnamese soldiers from AIF records and to inform their families. The 'Battlefield' drawings are embedded with the soil from battle sites from the Vietnam War visited by the artist, identified with the serial numbers used in war records and 'Operation Wandering Souls'.

The artist found that few traces of the war remain in these places, so the drawings document how the country has recovered from the war, at least visually. 'YS278563' is the location of operation 'Magnetic'.

Nguyen Thi Thanh was selected by the Australian War Memorial as the Vietnamese artist for the inaugural artist residency exchange project with Vietnam. She was commissioned to create work in response to the shared legacy of conflict between Australia and Vietnam. (James Nguyen was the Australian artist selected who undertook a month long residency in Vietnam.) The commission was co-funded by the Memorial and the Department of Communications and the Arts’ Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund.

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