Agent Orange Spray-Area Vietnam

In 1967 Professor Hans Burla Department of Zoology asked me to draw laboratory-induced mutations within the fly family Drosophilidae, a research he conducted by putting a mutagenic poison ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) into the flies’ food. The mutant fly was named 'quasimodo'. I was so taken with this task and with the mutated flies that I started to paint them with watercolors in my free time. Many years later I came to the conclusion that similar mutagenic poison to EMS had been used during the Vietnam War, namely ‘Agent Orange’, ‘Agent Blue’ and ‘Agent White’. With those chemical agents the US army wanted to get rid of the jungle foliage, to make it easier for the pilots of the bombing squadrons to detect Vietcong soldiers on the ground. In Vietnam today, misshapen and ill children are still frequently being born, and still they are not recognized as war victims.


Two heads of the fly Drosophila subobscura
Aquarell, Zürich 1967
Left head mutation 'quasimodo' right side normal head


Two Mutated Fly Heads, University Zürich, Switzerland