Feng Zikai, founder of modern chinese cartoon art, (part I)

This days the Hong Kong Museum of Art is hosting a Feng Zikai’s cartoon art exhibition, it has two parts; one is located at the 2nd floor called “Cultivating Life and Soul” which features everyday scenes that reminds us how we are part of the same universe. It also includes some poems from his mentor Li Shutong. On the 4th floor you will find ” Creating a world of compassion”.

In my opinion the exhibition is excellent, it presents a large selection of Feng Zikai’s work, which brings back the idea of simplicity,  drawing strokes without embellishments and everyday life situations with a touch of spontaneity.

The traditional Chinese term manhua (chinese word for comic) refers to a graphic art for satire and caricature which is considered a kind of new art form with foreign influences. Manhua was first introduced by Feng Zikai at the time of the Qing Dinasty (1898-1975) in 1925 as the modem Chinese loan-word form from the Japanese tradition of the “manga”.

The varied nature and the rise of manhua evolved in close relation to the developments in the social and political environments of mainland China and
Hong Kong at the turn of the century.

The  artist Feng Zikai with some of his own work, spread out this particular way of describing by pictures the daily adventures of chinese people.  Manhua attracted the praise and involvement of other famous artists such as writer Lu Xun. One of the first publication is the cartoon magazine called “Shanghai Punch” in September 1918, the founder and editor, Shen Bochen (1889–1920) and  Huang Wennong (1903–1934), one of the most  influential cartoonists of his generation.

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