The Veteran’s Fall Open Fine Art Show—featuring paintings of peach blossoms to children amid war–is now on exhibit at the Clovis Veteran’s Memorial Building.
The show opened Wednesday evening.
More than 60 pieces of artwork are displayed, many of them centered on war, soldiers and their families. Other artwork focuses on California’s coast, the Central Valley and portraiture. The works on display include paintings as well as charcoal sketches and sculptures.
Ma Ly is a professional artist in Fresno. Born in Laos, Ly and his family left after the Vietnam War. They settled in France. Ly lived there for 32 years. In those years he studied art, perfecting his craft. However, it was not until his move to Fresno, five years ago, that he began working professionally.
“When I came here it was a new start, a new career and a leap of faith into the art world,” Ly said.
Ly’s featured work at the art show is “Spring Passage.” The painting shows a woman–pregnant in a soft, white dress–standing among pink-blossoming peach trees. She is reaching for the upper branches of a tree.
His work is an interesting contrast in the midst of the many beautiful yet melancholy paintings of the military and war. Where those paintings are representations of bittersweet remembrance, Ly’s painting portrays joy through rebirth.
An interesting foil to Ly’s work is that of retired Navy Seabee James Henry Jacobsen. He has two pieces on display—“The Innocence of War” and the other, “The Destruction of the Da Nang Cargo Ramps and Depot.”
“The Innocence of War” shows children in a village, surrounded by brilliant green Rubber Trees. Under the painting Jacobsen placed a short anecdote about the experience that inspired the painting. He writes of seeing—every day for a period of months in 1968–children from the village of Phu Bai playing as his unit drove past in military vehicles. He explains further his astonishment and later, apprehension when one day he did not see the children. That day, he explains, the Tet Offensive began.
“The Destruction of the Da Nang Cargo Ramps and Depot” shows destroyed tanks and cargo ramps at Dan Nang Bridge. In hues of blue and gray, Jacobsen’s painting is meant to convey destruction and decay.
The show is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.