The “Art” of Vietnam’s Winning Fight Against COVID-19

by Harvey Llamosa
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As the world continuously fights the COVID-19 pandemic, one country in Southeast Asia stands out, Vietnam. To date, there are only 288 cases in the country with 241 recoveries, and zero deaths related to COVID-19. Their solutions? It’s the combination of early prevention, mass testing, strict isolation measures, and massive information dissemination.

Even ordinary citizens did their part, especially in information dissemination. Artists all over the country brought back the “Propaganda Art”, which was popularized during the war in 1970’s. But today, the “Propaganda Art” by the Vietnamese artists is now centered on war against the COVID-19. Some of the designs are about proper handwashing, usage of face masks, and supporting the frontliners. And this is our today’s feature for SEAtizens series.

One of the artworks spread in the country is from 73-year-old artist Luu Yen, he submitted his posters to the COVID-19 campaign of Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. One of his posters features a health worker instructing people to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Luu Yen’s “Propaganda Art” against COVID-19 (Photo from The Guardian)

“Although I am in poor health at the moment and the deadline was tight, I decided to join this project to lend a helping hand to everybody in this war. If we cannot be at the frontline, all artists can support in our own way by delivering information through propaganda paintings,” said Luu Yen in an interview with The Guardian.

Another popular artwork is from Le Duc Hiep. He posted it on his social media and became viral. It is depicting a masked health worker together with a masked person raising hands with a message “To stay at home is to love your country” followed by asking people to report anyone escaping the quarantine or declare if they are experiencing symptoms.

“I wanted to make something that can go viral, raise awareness and inspire people to do the right thing,” said Le Duc Hiep in an interview with The Guardian. “I chose the propaganda style because it’s familiar to Vietnamese people and this style always invokes patriotic emotions,” he added.

Another artist who participated at the COVID-19 art campaign of Vietnam is Tran Duy Truc, a 76-year-old propaganda art painter. His poster features a mother and daughter from an ethnic group putting a face mask with a handwashing visual at the background.

Tran Duy Truc’s “Propaganda Art” against COVID-19 (Photo from Nhan Dan)

“My idea was to draw people who are part of the ethnic minority community, who live in remote areas and have a low literacy level, in order to help spread the party message clearly,” Tran Duy Truc said in an interview with Channel News Asia.

With a lot of effort and a true partnership with their people, Vietnam is now leading a successful campaign against COVID-19 and a true model in this battle against this pandemic.

Were you inspired by their artworks? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


SEA Wave magazine’s SEAtizens initiative is a series of inspiring stories of people in Southeast Asia who champion the human spirit by demonstrating courage, ingenuity, generosity, and selflessness amidst the current crisis.


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