THESE ARE DAD'S OLD ARTWORK FROM THE 1980s THAT USED IN THE FILM:
July 19, 1981: While living with a foster family for the summer in Kearney, Nebraska, Dad, an eighth grader, painted this "April 1979" watercolor on paper, based from memory of "Akuna," the ship that saved him and 67 other people on his boat twenty-one months earlier, in April, 1979, from the Thai pirates in the South China Sea.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS PAINTING ON FACEBOOK
November 21, 2009: Thirty years after being rescued by a ship in the South China Sea, at our home in California, Dad found a photograph of "Akuna" for the first time on the Internet. He was amazed with how incredibly close his 1981 watercolor painting of Akuna resembled to the actual vessel.LINK TO FACEBOOK POST
Late Summer 1982: While living in a runaway teen shelter in Grand Island, Nebraska, Dad painted this watercolor, "The Boat," based on memory from his own boat escape from Vietnam with his cousins in mid April, 1979. This painting was given to Mrs. Joan Fortune, Dad's former junior high school art teacher from Kearney, Nebraska, while Dad was in 8th grade and in her art class. At the time, Dad stayed temporarily with Mrs. Fortune at her one bedroom apartment in Kearney, Nebraska, while his social worker was searching for a new foster home. Mrs. Fortune later requested Dad to call her "Mom" because she was acting as his guardian, while he was in transitions between foster homes and teen shelters in Nebraska.
March 2010: Dad traveled from Sacramento (Calif.) to Denver (Colo.) to visit Mrs. Joan Fortune. He brought along old greeting cards and letters that Mrs. Joan Fortune wrote to him in 1980-81 to let her see and read them again. He also get to see his favorite watercolor painting, "The Boat," almost three decades later.
LINK TO "ANGEL" VIDEO
ABOUT DAD'S 2010 DENVER TRIP
TO VISIT HIS FORMER
JUNIOR HIGH ART TEACHER
ON YOUTUBE OR ON FACEBOOK
1988: Dad created this block print "April 13, 1979" for one of his art classes at Kearney State College (University Of Nebraska, Kearney) in the summer of 1988. This picture depicts the night his boat faced violent sea storms at the Gulf Of Thailand, in the South China Sea, immediately following deadly Thai pirate attacks.
READ "APRIL 13, 1979" – A SHORT NEWSPAPER ARTICLE DAD WROTE IN 1999 FOR THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BOAT JOURNEY, ON FACEBOOK
Feb. 9, 1992: Dad created this cutaway diagram to show how him and 67 other people were hidden in the secret compartment in the bottom of the boat. The graphic was published in The Orange County Register with a front-page story about his boat journey. While working as a news-graphic artist for this newspaper in Santa Ana, California, Dad returned to Vietnam for the first time -- almost 13 years after his escape -- to visit his family in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City.) The Register sent reporter Melissa Balmain Weiner and photographer Ana Venegas to Vietnam along with Dad to help him document his return trip.
VISIT "RETURN TO VIETNAM 1992" SPECIAL COVERAGE BY THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
COMING TO AMERICA
Dad is holding his own 31-years old pencil drawing, created in March 1980, four months after coming to the U.S. At this time, he was living with his cousins at their first rented American home on 27th Street, Kearney, Nebraska. The drawing documented the exciting final chapter of his April 1979 boat journey for freedom from Vietnam: departing Indonesia's refugee camp for America. Dad flew on Boeing Jumbo jets from Singapore, with a stopover in Hong Kong, and arrived at San Francisco International Airport on November 27, 1979. Link to Dad's Facebook post about his first American home. Read Dad's detail journal of this event on his Blog.
MARBLE BOY | Oil painting by Dad, 1986
Dad started on this painting when he was in junior high in Grand Island, Nebraska. He came back to finish it several years later while attending Kearney State College (University of Nebraska at Kearney) in 1986. This image of a boy shooting marble was based from a photograph Dad found in a textbook in 1980, while attending Kearney Junior High School in Kearney, Nebraska. One of Dad's favorite pastimes from the late 1970s was playing marble games with his neighbor kids and friends in Saigon. This was the age before video games and the Internet. Television was rare and most were black and white. The single channel was a government-sponsored network. The programs were limited to several hours each night and mostly contained of political announcements. Dad was playing marbles in the dirt with his neighbor kids one afternoon when Grandpa gave him the news about the boat escape plan. See a related post about the marble game from Dad's personal Blog and Facebook in August, 2010
POPUP BOAT PEOPLE
Dad made this as a project for an art class with instructor Alan Kraning at Kearney State College (University of Nebraska, Kearney) in 1988. The boat and the people in it resembled the boat that carried 68 people, including Dad and his cousins, on a boat journey and escape from Vietnam in April, 1979.
"SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE" ANIMATION
Dad created this hand-drawn animation project for a college art class. It was the first time the University of Nebraska, Kearney, introduced this program, and the instructor was also, Mr. Alan Kraning. The video below is a mini version of the animation film. "04.13.79" is the date when Dad's boat was attacked by pirates in the afternoon and faced violent sea storms late in the evening.
The drawings below of Pulau Buton refugee camp in Indonesia were created by Dad in February, 2010. After connecting on Facebook with Daniel Dien Luong, a former refugee from Buton camp whose boat was also rescued by the Akuna ship, Dad and Mr. Luong decided to exchange drawings about the refugee camp from memory, 31 years later. Visit Dad's Facebook for viewing these drawings with comments by Dad and Mr. Luong.
The maps below from from a Facebook post about Dad's "Crazy Swim" while he was staying at Pulau Buton refugee camp in Indonesia, 1979.
Dad drew this map with pen on paper for a 1988 article about his boat journey, published in The Antelope newspaper of the University of Nebraska, Kearney.