In Vietnam the motorbike is the main mode of transport, not only for people but for every imaginable and unimaginable product and produce. Without the motorbike the economy would grind to a halt.
The Bikes of Burden Collection presents in 130 images a photographic record of life in modern-day Vietnam. The series was produced and made into a book in 2003, with later images made in 2010-2011. Since then, Hans Kemp’s cult classic photobook Bikes of Burden has sold well over 100,000 copies in 4 languages, generating a global fan-base for these amazing bikes.
Bikes of Burden was in the Asian Art Biennial and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts acquired 12 large prints for its permanent collection. Prints also found their way into offices and homes through the world, gathering fans who had never even visited the country.
In the foreword of the first edition, Kemp wrote about how he feared bikes would eventually disappear from Vietnamese roads, making way to cars and other modes of transport. Almost 20 years have now passed, and though much of that has come true, motorbikes have shown their resiliency and remain ingrained in Vietnamese culture.
Now the bikes have accelerated into the NFT space. The piece acquired by RAW was the image that Kemp chose as the cover of his book, enriching our collection with a gem that is famous worldwide.