In Xuân Hạ’s kinetic sculpture inspired by the story of Mẹ Nhu, a National Heroic Mother, starkly contrasting with the cold, permanent materiality of stainless steel is the emotive memory of warm blood flowing out of Mẹ Nhu’s frail body when she attempted to protect her children. In real story, Mẹ Nhu was immediately shot dead by the enemy. She would live on as an immortal but little would ever be known about her life, her private agony or happiness as a mother. Xuân Hạ’s playful depiction of Mẹ Nhu’s children, much unlike the solemn, imposing public monument that portrays her, is not only an endearing tribute, but also an embodiment of her private questions: “Between the grand title of a national heroine and being an unsung mother of her children, what would Mẹ Nhu have chosen?”
The artist continues her narration by tackling the topics of “mother”, “symbol”, “monument”, “honor” and the omission of inconvenient truths as Mẹ Nhu is chiseled into an exemplary figure for the public.
(Written by curator Nguyen Phuoc Bao Chau)