Spotlight: Matt Huynh’s The Boat


The Boat is an interactive graphic novel based on the acclaimed story by Nam Le. The online project is the first interactive graphic novel by the Walkley-winning SBS interactive team, and unites hand drawn artwork, animation, text, sound, and archive to explore this important moment in history through an innovative mode of storytelling that pushes the existing boundaries of the graphic novel form.

The Boat tells the story of sixteen-year-old Mai, whose parents make the decision to send her alone on a boat after the fall of Saigon. The epic and tragic story resonates with the foundational narrative of the Australia-Vietnamese diaspora including that of author Nam Le’s own family. Similarly, New York-based Australian illustrator Matt Huynh’s parents left Vietnam for Australia in the years following the fall of Saigon.

The project was launched in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and forty years of Vietnamese resettlement in Australia. It aspires to further representation of refugee voices in an innovative digital storytelling medium with particular pertinence to contemporary Australian asylum seeker issues. Watch an interview with Matt about the project’s creation here.


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M​att Huynh is an Australian artist based in New York City. His comics and illustrations are informed by sumi-e painting and shodo calligraphy. His clients include the New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone and Adobe. Creative Sydney Festival named him one of Sydney’s most innovative cultural contributors for his graphic novel, CAB, documenting true stories from suburban Sydney’s Cabramatta community. His illustrated reportage of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations appears in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. His comic, Chinatown, was presented on the Sydney Opera House stage and exhibited at the Society of Illustrators.​ ​ More from this author →