Propaganda is commonly a form of political influence, but has also been used for campaigns to promote public health and safety. Vietnam's propaganda art truly came to light during the American War. Take note that most of the propaganda posters sold in Hanoi's Old Quarter are reproductions; the real stuff will drain your bank account and come with no guarantee of authenticity. Still, it's hard not to appreciate the unique artistic style of the Soviet block geometry and pastel colours of the retro socialist campaigns emblazoned with messages that cover everything from public health to American War-era nationalism. Le Lam, arguably Vietnam's most famous propaganda artist, lives in Hanoi.
There are many stores in Hanoi that sell propaganda art products such as reproduction posters that rally the population to 'Grow more coffee', 'Breed more pigs for a Vietnam with full stomachs' and 'Save the country, save the youth'. Following closely behind the establishment of the Indochina Communist Party and the Viet Minh, propaganda art began its rise to prominence in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh, after declaring independence from the French in 1954, promoted the concept of nationalism in literature and art to help Vietnam achieve sovereignty. It wasn't until the American War that Vietnamese propaganda art truly came to light. Trumpeting sentiments from the Central Committee, Vietnamese propaganda art has a very hip, retro feel and can be found on items from old posters to handbags and t-shirts.