Year of Comics #BD2020

#BD2020 - Comic exchanges and collaboration between France and Hong Kong: Kaléidoscope, OUAT, and FEVER

Since their appearance around the 1900s, roughly at the same time as cinema, comic books have been one of the most widespread forms of folk art. In francophone countries, they are called bandes dessinées (“drawn strips”), or “BD,” in the short form. Indeed, throughout the 20th century, European comics developed their own styles, distinct from their Japanese or North American counterparts. Comics flourished particularly in Belgium and France (and to a lesser extent in Italy, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands).
Hence, classical francophone comics came to be referred to as franco-belge (Franco-Belgian), to highlight their specificities. Since then, especially from the 1970s onwards, francophone comics have evolved into a much more diverse variety of styles, themes, and sub-genres. Also, eventually achieving more recognition as an art form, they are now often called le neuvième art (“The Ninth Art”).

Hong Kong also has its own classical comic books, such as Old Master Q by Wong Chak or Oriental Heroes by Tony Wong. They became very popular starting from the 1960s onwards. In later decades, Hong Kong independent comics flourished, yet perhaps still overshadowed locally by Japanese manga. But they have undoubtedly achieved international recognition.

Les pieds nickelés

by Louis Forton: one of the very early French comics. 

Old Master Q

Old Master Q by Wong Chak: one of the most popular Hong Kong comics

L'école franco-belge

Les grands classiques des années 50-60 suivant l'exemple de Tintin d'Hergé 

In France, a major comic book festival takes place every year in the southwestern city of Angoulême. First organized in 1974, it became one of the most important international venues for comics at large.

Indeed, in 2011 Angoulême festival held a comprehensive exhibition about the history of Hong Kong comics, called Hong Kong Kaléidoscope,” inviting about twenty Hong Kong artists.

Festival #OUAT 2019, HKAC, LI Chi-tak, Pop-up exhib, HKAC, FIBD, Angoulême, 2020, Fever HKCA et Angoulême

Some of them had already had the opportunity to be translated by French publishers: Li Chi Tak, Lai Tat Tat Wing, Yeung Hok Tak (Qu’elle était bleue ma vallée, 2006), Ahko, or Chi Hoi. In 2013, for the 40th edition of the festival, artists Siu Hak and Little Thunder (author of Kylooe, also translated into French), were invited, and took part in a “drawing-concert.” And in 2016, for the first time, an entire exhibition was dedicated to a Hong Kong comic book artist: Li Chi Tak : un sorcier à Hong Kong” (Li Chi Tak: A Wizard in Hong Kong). The same year, Li, now considered a “godfather” of Hong Kong independent comics, published The Beast, with a scenario written by Belgian writer Jean Dufaux.

Hong Kong has had a special venue dedicated to the conservation, exhibition of, and international exchanges related to comics: Comix Home Base, opened in 2013, under the supervision of Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC), which is very active in promoting local talents. Indeed, collaboration with HKAC led to the organization of further events including French and Hong Kong comic book artists. In 2019, a Hong Kong comics touring exhibition called OUAT (Once Upon A Time), was launched, as well as residencies of Hong Kong artists in Angoulême. In the frame of OUAT, French artists and publishers were invited to Hong Kong, in return. Activities were also held at Hong Kong’s Alliance Française involving French artists Claire Malary and Stéphane Levallois. Stéphane Beaujean, artistic director of Angoulême festival, also held a conference on the economics of comics as a publishing sector in France and abroad, attended by many AF students.

In January 2019, during the 46th festival of Angoulême, French Minister of culture Franck Riester announced that 2020 would be the “Year of comics” in France, through the BD 2020 set of events. And in early 2020, HKAC launched FEVER, the successor event of OUAT, with artists Lau Kwong-shing, Li Chi Tak, and Yanai being invited to Angoulême, while being exhibited at Hong Kong Arts Centre. All three are publishing a book in French: Moon of the moon, by Li Chi Tak, in collaboration with Le Louvre Museum in Paris, Frankenstein Family by Yanai, and Fantaisie Ordinaire (Ordinary Day) by Lau Kwong-shing.

LI Chi-tak, Moon of the moon, 2019 et LEVALLOIS Stéphane, Leonard2Vinci, 2019, Futuropolis et Musée du Louvre éditions,

Text by Hugo Petit

#BD2020, c'est l'année de la BD en France et dans les centres culturels français. Retrouvez le cycle d'articles consacrés à la BD sur le blog de l'AF. 

Li Chi Tak, Yanai and Lau Kwong-shing will hold a conference:  “Cultural Tour in Comics City - Angouleme in France”  Date: 18 July 2020 (Saturday)
Time: 3-4pm
Venue: McAulay Studio, LB/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre

Organized by Consulate General of France in Hong Kong & Macau, Hong Kong Arts Centre (Comix Home Base)

Remark : after the talk, a book signing session by Chi-tak Li will be held from 5pm at Today Publications booth in the Hong Kong Book Fair.
Please purchase your Hong Kong Book Fair tickets to enter and participate if interested.

Li Chi Tak will be present for a presentation:  "From Hong Kong to Louvre Museum: a Journey Exploring French & HK Comics!".
Date: 20 July 2020 (Mon)
Time: 4-5pm
Venue: Cultural Event Stage, Hall 1A Concourse, HKECE

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