Local comic book artists are collaborating on a project to celebrate Taiwan-related imagery in a bid to highlight the nation’s soft power, as well as draw the government’s attention to intellectual property rights.
One hundred artists from around the nation gathered during the past two weeks to prepare for the Taiwan Comic Artist Show, organizers said, adding that support for the event has been staggering.
Manga artist and Taipei City Comic Artists Guild chairman Lai Yu-hsien (賴有賢) said that Taiwan lacks its own comic art style and culture, and artists typically mimic works from Japan and the US.
Photo courtesy of the Taipei Comic Artist Labor Union
The government often commissions work from foreign art studios, overlooking the work of local artists, Lai said, adding that in East Asia, only Taiwan still fails to protect its artists’ intellectual property rights.
“I thought if I brought 100 local artists together to create works depicting the things that are uniquely Taiwanese it would be a magnificent sight,” Lai said, adding that he was sad to see the work of local artists being ignored.
Various well-known artists including Au Yao-hsing (敖幼祥), Uen Cheng (鄭問), Hsiao Yen-chung (蕭言中), Yeh Yu-tung (葉羽桐) and Mickeyman (米奇鰻), pledged support for the exhibition, Lai said, adding that the artists will share a 5m long canvas for their finished works.
Each artist will paint a Taiwan-themed image, such as a famous scenic spot like Alishan or Turtle Island (Guishan, 龜山島), a local dish, such as steamed dumplings or beef noodles, or a creative rendering, such as Hualien’s Cingshuei Cliffs (清水斷崖) taking on the shape of a woman’s body, Lai said.
Artists aim to complete the canvas by Friday with an unveiling at Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park, he said.
The Ministry of Culture gave NT$400,000 for the exhibition, Taipei Comic Artist Labor Union director Chung Meng-shun (鍾孟舜) said.
Exhibition organizers said the event aims to draw the government’s attention to the value of local artists’ work.
Chung said he uncovered numerous instances of government agencies using copyrighted or poorly designed images in campaigns, adding: “Taiwan has lots of creative people — why does the government not use them?”
Lai said that highlighting creative talent could help put the spotlight on the nation, citing similar efforts made by Japan during its campaign to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
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