Pham, The Trung as a young artist in Ho Chi Minh City, c.1978

photo: courtesy of The Pham family

Pham, The Trung was a graduate of the Saigon National University of Art. After South Vietnam fell to the North Vietnamese communist regime in 1975, he was forced to work for the new government, drawing propaganda posters. Military draft was imminent. On the eve of the Vietnamese Tet (new Year) in 1980, Pham and his youngest brother informed their family that they would set out after dinner -- for freedom.