From his deep admiration for President Ho Chi Minh, the great Vietnamese leader who contributed to motivating working class and oppressed peoples around the world to fight for national liberation, French-Romanian painter Georg Esco has created an impressive portrait of President Ho.
Georg Esco spent nearly 5 months to complete a 126 x 103cm portrait of President Ho Chi Minh. (Photo: NDO/Le Khai Hoan)
He granted an interview to Nhan Dan (People) Online to talk more about his respect for the beloved Vietnamese leader.
Question: What motivated you to create the painting of President Ho Chi Minh?
Painter Georg Esco: President Ho Chi Minh is not the only person that has been portrayed in my paintings. I have drawn many influential figures who work in various fields, from politicians such as former US President Barack Obama, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron, to world famous artists such as singer Beyoncé and former EP President Simone Veil.
I felt especially excited to create a portrait of President Ho Chi Minh because he was a man of peace, an outstanding cultural celebrity, a hero of Vietnam's national liberation, a great figure, and a friend of the international community. President Ho Chi Minh not only devoted his whole life to the national liberation of his fatherland, but he also made a significant contribution to inspiring the people of the world, especially revolutionary soldiers and peace lovers.
I started working on the portrait of President Ho 4 months ago. I found great admiration for this great man since set foot in Vietnam for the first time.
During my trip, I visited many historical sites and witnessed with my own eyes the difficulties and hardships facing revolutionary soldier Ho Chi Minh and his comrades during their revolutionary activities.
While painting Ho Chi Minh, I did a lot of research on historical documents about him and his documentary photos so that I could portray his most prominent facial features. These were the eyes of a prominent revolutionary soldier who, full of aspiration to liberate the country, read the Declaration of Independence on September 2, 1945, and gave birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, opening an era of independence and freedom for the Vietnamese people.
Portrait of President Ho Chi Minh by painter Georg Esco. (Photo: NDO/Minh Duy)
Can you tell us more about your Vietnam trip?
I got an invitation from a Vietnamese-French friend to visit Vietnam in March. I toured many beautiful cities of Vietnam, such as Da Nang, Hoi An, Da Lat, and Hue.
But the most memorable trip was when I arrived at Pac Bo Special National Site in northern Cao Bang Province, which witnessed remarkable revolutionary activities of President Ho Chi Minh. I can't imagine a great leader living in such a simple style.
President Ho lived and worked with his comrades in Pac Bo Cave, which is located deep in the rugged mountainous area which is surrounded by high mountains and deep streams.
Despite living in such difficult circumstance in a narrow and humid cave, President Ho Chi Minh made heroic and glorious turning points for the country’s struggles against foreign invaders for national salvation. This motivated me to complete my portrait of this great person.
What are your impressions of the country and people of Vietnam?
Before the trip, I couldn’t imagine that Vietnam hosts so many scenic spots. The Vietnamese people are also very kind and hospitable. What makes me most excited is the rich and diverse cuisine of the different areas across the country. Since my first visit in March, I have returned to Vietnam four more times to enjoy these wonderful things.
What is the message you want to convey to viewers from your portrait of President Ho Chi Minh?
Through my portrait of President Ho Chi Minh, I want to send a message to young generations, especially Vietnamese youth, that while you live in peaceful days and enjoy today’s development achievements, you must never forget the glorious services of your predecessors.
Thank you so much for your sharing!
On the back of the portrait, Georg Esco writes a line in Vietnamese, saying ‘Theo Buoc Chan Cua Ho Chi Minh’ (Following in Ho Chi Minh's footsteps). (Photo: NDO/Minh Duy)
Georg Esco (real name Ionita-Radu Georgescu), born March 11, 1977, is a French-Romanian painter born in the historic land of Transylvania, in central Romania. He spent his childhood in an orphanage in Romania with hundreds of children in the same situation, then moved to Paris in the 1990s.
Georg Esco is considered by arts experts to be one of the most talented contemporary artists. Esco's works have attracted the attention of French and international art enthusiasts.
He plans to host an exhibition in France to display thousands of his paintings. Regarding the portrait of President Ho Chi Minh in particular, he believes that many people will be interested in the painting because France was one of the stopping places of President Ho during his journey to seek out a way to save the country. The artist also hopes to introduce this portrait in Vietnam in the near future.
Khai Hoan - Minh Duy - Translated by NDO