Truth of War Art Piece-
Đang chờ Hy vọng- Waiting for Hope
Acrylic on Canvas
“And for all that had been done and for all that's been undone I cried again today. I was dehydrated and weak. A few of the passengers lie dead next to me, but the remaining of us don’t have the strength or energy to lift them up and out of the boat. My shaking hands felt the warmth on my cheeks and the shortness of my breath. I cried for the times when I had made myself believe that there was hope, where I believed that someone would come and help us.” -Vietnamese boat person.
I wanted to convey that when people have the power to do something, not everyone tries to help. When the boat people were attacked by pirates and had horrendous things done to them, the Thai government knew about the pirates attacking the boats, but had made no effort to help.
I originally came up with my idea looking into the refugee boat people and their long journey in hopes of finding a safe haven. Boat people are Vietnamese citizens who had no choice but to flee their home because it was no longer safe for them on land. I was inspired by looking at images of boat people and reading about the survivors stories. That’s how I came up with my art piece of the government pretending not to see the people in the boats.
I created my art by using acrylic paints on a canvas. I wanted to make my art piece look textured, yet worn because I wanted to communicate that the refugees had no strength left and they were losing hope, almost making it look like they were fading away. I added texture to the water in order to make it more interesting and help make it come to life.
From creating this piece, I learned of all the barbarous and brutal things the refugees had to go through, especially with the pirates. I also learned that the Thai government knew of all of the horrible things happening to the boat people, but they just ignored it. My ideas for this piece had changed a lot throughout the project, evolving from just having the boat people look beaten and sad to adding in the Thai government and pirates, and making the people look hazy and blurred.
Throughout the expansion of this project, Ally’s Sophomore Humanities class was able to explore many “truths” of war. One product that had a huge impact on me to understand the truth of war was the book “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. Within this book, I got a deeper understanding of what war is like and the things people in the war carry, in the war, and after the war. The writing in the book was unique and interesting that it provided perspectives that I don’t think I would’ve had if I hadn’t read the book. Another exploration that helped me understand the “truth” of war was the veterans who came and talked about their war experience. The Veteran who came and spoke to my class was so open and emotional that I got to see the real aftereffects that war has on someone, and it was really eye opening.
Within this project, I struggled with sticking to one theme idea. At the start of this project, I dabbled with a few ideas, but I thought I knew what I wanted the overall theme to be, but when we got to talk more about it, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and how I could tie it all together. Before we started working on the project, I didn’t think the critiques would help me as much because I thought I knew what I wanted, but during the project it ended up to be super helpful. I strengthened my skills by actually taking in my peers critiques/suggestions and using it to better my project, and even help me have a better understanding of how I wanted it to turn out. Before, in most projects that we would use peer critiques it would all go in one ear and out the other, so with this project I got to strengthen that skill and use it, which helped my project in the long run.
For me, enduring understandings I will most definitely take away from this project is all of the things people carry in war and after the war. I realized that, of course, they’d suffered from PTSD and would have to take what they did in the war and what happened, with them for the rest of their lives, but I suppose I didn’t really understand how deep those kind of things ran until the Vets came and visited us and talked about their true and raw experiences. I didn’t know that in one of their opinions, that they were all fighting in a war that had no real purpose, that they were invading another country, and for what? They were fighting for the same thing America had; civil rights. I think it was a very impactful thing to learn that just because people don’t always talk about it, or that you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there or that it hadn’t happened.