AIDS poster award revoked

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The "A" prize granted to Hanoian Nguyen Tan Khoi for his work entitled Dung de HIV/ AIDS lay di cuoc song cua ban (Don't let HIV/AIDS take away your life) in a propaganda poster contest last month has been revoked.

The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism decided to withdraw Nguyen Tuan Khoi's award including VND10 million and certificate after his work was found to be a replica of a poster by a foreign artist.

Thanh Nien has discovered that Khoi's poster was an imitation of Rewais Hanna's poster, rewarded the second prize in a contest "What if it were you" held at the Edgewood High School in Madison, Wisconsin.

Edgewood's propaganda poster contest was themed on educating teenagers on preventing the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Hanna's work is posted on the official website

Dr. Nguyen Do Bao, head of Hanoi Fine Arts Association, said Khoi's poster centers on a human hanging on to the earth using the same shape used by Hanna, who has the human hanging on to the word "LIFE". The red ribbon stylized as the "A" in the word AIDS is also identical.

The foreign artist's depiction of a human being clinging on to life sends a stronger and more emotional message than Khoi's work, said Bao.

Professor Vi Kien Thanh, director of the Fine Arts Department who headed the contest's jury panel, said the jury cannot be blamed for granting the award because they had not known it was a copy.

Thanh said Khoi's case raised the question of an artist's sense of ethics and responsibility toward society.

The propaganda poster contest was launched in June by the Steering Committee for Population, AIDS and Social Affairs under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the General Office for Population and Family Planning.

It attracted more than 500 entries from 198 artists.

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