President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was in Tainan on Saturday to personally thank legendary Taiwanese painter Yan Jhen-fa (顏振發) at the unveiling of his latest work, an election billboard featuring Tsai, who is seeking re-election, and her running mate, former premier William Lai (賴清德).
People have flocked to see the finished billboard, which sparked online discussions in admiration of Yan’s skills after its unveiling at Tsai’s campaign office on Tainan’s Shimen Road.
Tsai thanked Yan, 67, for his support, and praised his dedication to movie poster painting.
Photo: Wang Shu-hsiu, Taipei Times
Yan is considered a national treasure, as he is one of the few remaining movie poster artists in Taiwan.
In an online message, Lai said the work is “priceless.”
“Throughout his life, Yan has painted countless handsome men and beautiful women, and this time, President Tsai and I are the leading characters... It is a priceless treasure, which has touched my heart,” Lai said.
Yan said it was his own idea to do the painting, as he had earlier visited the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Tainan campaign office, saying that “it looked barren — maybe needed something to attract attention.”
“It was my own idea, and I would not take any money for it, because I wanted to do this painting for Taiwan,” he said.
Yan took five days to finish the billboard.
“It took great skills to capture the essences ... of Tsai and Lai. I really appreciate Yan’s brilliant artwork, and am very much moved that he undertook the painting … in support of Taiwan,” Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) of the DPP said.
Praise for the billboard has poured in online, with people saying it is “very impressive,” “the work of a true master,” and that Yan’s creation has a feeling of human warmth not found in prints and computer-generated graphics.
Yan works at Tainan’s Chuan Mei Theater (全美戲院).
He was featured in a special BBC report in November last year, titled “The last film poster painter of Taiwan.”
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