From Feb 18th to 25th, the Wanlin Art Museum, in collaboration with the Wuhan Cartoon Association organized a cartoon exhibition themed “Djembe VS Cartoon”. Co-sponsored by Hubei Liaofan Wenhua Yishu Limited, the exhibition kicked off with an vibrant Djembe (an African drum) show and the works of six artists; Laozi, Muguo, Ling Qie, Zi Qiangwei and Muqun were put on display. The cartoons showcased the unique style of each artist and were exhibited in separate compartments.
A girl posing for a photo
The light-hearted cartoons and caricatures emanated unrestrained humour and mockery. Through these cartoons, the art-lovers came to acknowledge the artists’ sensibility in expressing their standpoints. The visitors couldn’t help but smile as they moved from one cartoon to another. The pantomime cartoons were both simple and complex, aimed at adults and children alike. Some even appeared like a carefree drawing of a kid while rendering a humorous message. These works of art kindled the artistic child-like innocence in the visitors. The cartoons depicted varied aspects centered around human life and habits.
(from top-left) caricatures
of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Gareth Bale and a gag cartoon with the caption
I'm the only one awake
The exhibition also displayed caricatures of famous political dignitaries, wealthy businessmen, movie celebrities and football stars. Barack Obama, Morgan Freeman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Vladimir Putin and Gareth Bale are only some of the famous celebrities whose caricatures were displayed. The exaggeration of the facial features in the caricatures had a comic undertone in a complimentary sense rather than a derogatory one. Other non-comic portraits were strikingly similar to their real-world counterparts though beautified to some extents with minimal hatching; these portraits were juxtaposed against their real photographs.
The luminously colorful sketches were in contrast with the deeply smudged portraits with a fairly abstract sense. A miniature cluster of cartoons on t-shirts also attracted visitors’ attention. Nevertheless, all these pieces of art, by the honed hands of the domestic artists, were deeply appreciated by the art-lovers. It also showed that the popularity of cartoons has not been dampened by the rise of computer-generated animation.
Cartoonist Laozi drawing cartoon of a visitor
Caricatures of visitors on display
The artists including Laozi, Zhou Zhonghua among others responded to the visitors’ requests and sketched hundreds of caricatures of the visitors and pinned them on the wall for display.
Laozi shared his views on cartoons, “My cartoons just reflect an image of life’s temperament. This life is a jungle. I cannot deal with it and do not want to succumb to it, but I can use my own sunshine and happiness to despise this indifferent reality. I want to use my own sunshine to warm the hearts of others. Our team of cartoonists is a blossoming tree; we ignite happiness in others.” He also shed some light on the inspiration behind their work, “We are really happy to have painted so well without any utilitarian motivations and without any obligation to accept any recognition from any department. We portray sincere happiness with our unhindered talent and hearts filled with vigor.”
(Written by Raju Maskey, photo by Guo Yutong, edited by Fang Siyuan, Wu Siying, Edmund Wai Man Lai & Hu Sijia)