Visual artist Matt Huynh's harrowing animation on Vietnam War refugees showcased by the Smithsonian

Matt Huynh's work from The Ark

Brooklyn-based visual artist Matt Huynh’s latest work on the Vietnam War will be showcased online by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC), as part of a month celebrating Asian Pacific American heritage.

Using his signature bold brush and ink paintings, Matt has dramatised the prologue to Viet Thanh Nguyen’s forthcoming novel The Committed, a sequel to New York Times best seller and Pulitzer Prize winner The Sympathizer which tells honest, raw tales of war, displacement and survival. Take a look at it below.

The poignant, moody animated film, The Ark, visualises brutal scenes on a refugee boat following the Fall of Saigon "that we’re compelled to avert our eyes from", says Matt. Matt directed and created the visuals for the film, alongside Viet Thanh Nguyen who narrated his own prose.

"At the forefront of this telling is the experience of younger generation’s first contact with the Vietnam War refugee story, through an aesthetic of degraded media and waves of electronic noise," says Matt.

Matt’s brush work is inspired by Eastern sumi-e traditions and Western comic books. His work covers topics such as refugees and migrant communities, and has been exhibited at places such as the MoMA and Brooklyn Museum.

The Smithsonian APAC is presenting the animation in its entirety for the first time for Asian Pacific American History month. The centre promotes understanding of this culture through exhibitions, collections, research and public programmes. The centre works alongside museums, galleries and centres throughout the Smithsonian.

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