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Charlie Surfs on Lotus Flowers di Simone Sapienza

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Charlie Surfs on Lotus Flowers di Simone Sapienza


On April 30th, 1975, a North Vietnamese tank rolled through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Saigon, signifying the end of the cruel American War and the beginning of a new independent era from Western regimes.
More than 40 years later, “Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers” depicts post-war Vietnam through a sequence of metaphorical responses to its current Hollywoodian limbo between the rise of the free-market economy and the Communist only-one Party that still rule with uncontested power since the end of the war, disappointing the hope of a democratic and free country. History repeats itself, looking at the West.
In fact, according to the Pew Global Poll, 95% of people in Vietnam agree that most people are better off under capitalism, even if there is inequality.
Peopled by a young and energetic population, the country is likely to become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies – the next Asian Tiger – still ruled with undisputed order and control, yet eager to ride the wave of economic freedom.


Simone Sapienza (b.1990) is a documentary photographer, recently graduated in Documentary Photography (First Class with Hons) from the University of South Wales – Newport.
He has received several international prizes awarded by The British Journal of Photography, PDN, Photographic Museum of Humanity, amongst others listed below. His pictures have been published on several magazines such as The British Journal of Photography, Io Donna, New Republic, PDN, La Stampa, Al Jazeera, R2 – La Repubblica and others – here the tearsheets. Simone has been exhibited and displayed worldwide in festivals, shows, screenings, such as JaipurPhoto, Fotoleggendo, BJP Breakthrough, Bitume Photofest, Pingyao Festival, Thessaloniki Photobiennale and many others.
Since 2015, he is the co-founder and co-director of Gazebook – Sicily Photobook Festival.
Simone lives in Palermo, where he is one of the five members of Minimum.
In “Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers”, Simone Sapienza depicts post-war Vietnam through a sequence of metaphorical responses to its current Hollywoodian limbo, surfing himself on a new wave of documentary photography.
A Colourful Portrait of Vietnam’s Ambiguity by Laurence Cornet for PHMUSEUM

Roads & Kingdoms

“Simone Sapienza’s alternative view on Vietnam”  – British Journal of Photography 

“Occupying a limbo between freedom and control, Simone Sapienza’s portrait of Vietnam explores the collision of communism and capitalism in its post-war landscape.”
Charlie Surfs on Lens Culture