Asian comic art on display

27 January 2018
The Straits Times, Life! Page D11

Staff from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts putting up artworks for the Singapore Comic Festival

A new comic festival in Singapore aims to not just shine a light on local comic history, but also to help position Singapore as a hub for comics in the region. Four hundred pieces of comic art by more than 90 artists from across Asia will go on display at the two-day Singapore Comic Festival, which opens today at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa). One of the festival’s highlights is an exhibition of original artwork by the late Kwan Shan Mei, Singapore’s grand old dame of book illustration, whose drawings brought to life popular children’s books such as Jessie Wee’s The Adventures Of Mooty series. The festival also exhibits work by artists from countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and China.

The festival will host workshops and talks by comic artists such as Hong Kong’s Jack Fung, author of The Three Swordsmen; Malaysia’s KS, who is behind Web comic Silent Horror; and Singaporean Evangeline Neo, or Evacomics. Also on the cards is a talent search for young comic creators, who can be mentored by artists from around the region and primed to enter the South-east Asian market. Organiser Travis Low hopes to achieve this through ComixJam 24Hrs, in which 30 young artists try to create a comic within 24 hours, simulating the tight deadlines professionals have to face. Given the upcoming bicentennial celebrations of the founding of Singapore, participants are to draw inspiration from lesser-known happenings in Singapore’s early history. The 10 winners chosen from the competition will receive a year-long mentorship from an established comic artist in the region and their works will be published in a compilation early next year.

Aspiring artists such as Lolita Cheong, 18, hope the 24-hour dead-line will get their creative juices flowing. “Comics are the hardest art for me because you have to do both lay-out and illustration,” says the Nafa illustration design with animation student. “I hope the deadline forces me to create more.” Her course-mate Ashna Shiji An-shad, 20, adds: “I hope to make more friends through the competition and learn more drawing styles.”

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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.