“Maybe they will become interested” one day, added the Briton, who lives in Ho Chi Minh City.
San Marziano said foreign visitors are greatly interested in Vietnamese propaganda art because it is “vigorous, fresh and interesting compared to other countries, and the work itself is an historical document.”
However, Taylor thinks it will be a long time before Vietnamese develop foreigners’ passion for the pictures.
“These posters still have a message, so they can’t become an object of decoration. That will only be possible when the image no longer has meaning, when the image changes status from propaganda to art,” she said.
One 45-year-old Vietnamese expatriate from Canada, who gave her name only as Thao, had a more down-to-earth reason for avoiding works such as a poster of a woman in a rice field with the slogan: “Agriculture, it’s the future.”
“Who would want to hang something like that?” she asked. “Maybe it will be priceless in 30 years, but for now, if I hang that kind of propaganda at home, if the other expatriates see it, they’ll burn down my house!”