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In June 2005 I was in Vietnam for a month as part of an international artists retreat. While I was there I visited The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, which is a memorial museum for what is referred to in Vietnam as The American War. I was so affected by what I saw at the museum that I went back several times and eventually re-photographed all of the images and text descriptions from the main museum--over two hundred photos. I used my digital camera and took the shots hand held at off angles to avoid reflections, so the images have an oddly casual quality but are still accurate representations of the material depicted at the museum, with a similarly horrifying quality. I decided to print the images and re-present the museum in various venues across the U.S.

Even though many of the images were familiar to me, seeing them all together and presented from the Vietnamese perspective was very striking. It made me realize that I didn't know much about the details of the war that had consumed the U.S for most of my early childhood. I started researching the war in an attempt to understand why it happened and what its effects were on the region and in regards to U.S policy. The museum and my re-presentations of it are only showing one perspective, there are many others. I encourage everyone to do their own research and find out more about The American War in Vietnam and all of the other American Wars that have been happening ever since, sometimes covertly and other times, as in the current situation in Iraq, very overtly, but hidden at the same time.

Harrell Fletcher
November 2005