Vietnamese propaganda posters were used during wartime for communication, to raise morale, and to invite patriotism. Nowadays, communist propaganda can serve as pieces of art and is an interesting souvenir to take back home. Here’s our guide on where to buy some.
Saigon Kitsch is the brainchild of a French-Vietnamese woman, Audrey Tan, who fell in love with Vietnam while on a holiday and never left. On display around her two-story shop are various retro-cool, communist kitsch gifts she has designed herself: notebooks, coffee mugs, fridge magnets, coasters, mouse pads, tote bags, purses, and even scented candles, all emblazoned with revolutionary motifs and vintage designs from the French colonial period. You can find other cute souvenirs if you do not wish to gift your friend an item with a secret message, such as bowls, spoons, pipes, purses, jewelry, paperweights, and the like. The vintage propaganda posters and tote bags are a favorite (some have even asked for an online delivery system), but what’s worth a special mention are the jigsaw puzzles where you can slowly piece together a patriotic message to kill time.
This gallery is really easy to miss, as the entrance is not wider than a door; however, that door leads to a whole new world. Walking through this space feels like you’ve entered the past and are in some sort of recruitment zone—every inch of the walls are plastered with retro propaganda posters from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Many of them are originals, and are not available for purchase or come at a hefty price. But you can choose smaller high-quality reproduction prints of these vintage propaganda art posters that are certainly more affordable. If you’re not looking to buy any artwork and just want to see as many examples as you can, then this is where you need to go.
Dan Sinh Market goes by many names: Yersin Market, The War Surplus Market, and The American Market. This market caters to clientele who are interested in buying military memorabilia. Over here, you will find combat boots, rusty dog tags, rain jackets, mosquito nets, hammocks, canteens, duffel bags, ponchos, combat tents, binoculars, and the list goes on. Many of the items may be replicas, however they still make cool souvenirs. Check out Steven’s Shop for some awesome vintage items, which are also showcased on his Facebook page. Among the maze of stalls, you will also come across propaganda art pieces here and there, such as coasters, posters, magnets, and Zippo lighters, featuring familiar propaganda symbols. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across a Chairman Mao alarm clock.
Dogma houses the largest collection of Vietnamese propaganda on Earth, dating from the birth of the modern Vietnamese nation. Fine art print editions on canvas of original Vietnamese propaganda art are available for you to buy from their gallery in Ho Chi Minh City, or even online for prices ranging from 25–60 USD. The originals were created during the Vietnam War, and while these are not available for sale, you can still visit the gallery and look around. The reproductions make a great memento of your holiday, and you can also find other souvenir items that are a fusion of Vietnamese propaganda art and urban fashion. The communist party t-shirts, jackets, Uncle Ho coffee mugs, clocks, and keychains will inject a little socialist reality into your wardrobe and home décor.