A manga mosaic – The Hindu

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Manga past and present collide in a show that celebrates the work of Japanese master Katsushika Hokusai

Manga past and present collide in a show that celebrates the work of Japanese master Katsushika Hokusai

The Manga Hokusai traveling exhibit is emblematic of manga’s visceral, painterly storytelling. Organized by the Consulate General of Japan, Chennai, and ABK-AOTS Dosakai, Tamil Nadu, the artistic work brings together the ukiyo-e creations of Katsushika Hokusai and contemporary works in the field.

“Today’s manga producers know Hokusai, so there’s a dialogue between painters of the past and today’s manga creators who are influenced by them,” says Taga Masayuki, Consul General of Japan at Chennai.

The master’s role in manga bears a strong resemblance to his famous play The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, whose waves have defined the meridians of contemporary manga. His work contains in its simple lines the convolutions of history, the internal contradictions of human nature, comic elements and caricatures. Hokusai has a special collection of 4,000 images over 800 pages, published in 15 volumes commonly referred to as Hokusai Manga.

Visitors view Manga Hokusai exhibition at Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai on Tuesday.

Visitors view Manga Hokusai exhibition at Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai on Tuesday. | Photo credit: VELANKANNI RAJ

Inoue Miyuki, researcher/advisor in the culture and information section, remarked that “manga is more like a cultural reading, more fun, but Hokusai is more artistic. Manga is a people comic but Hokusai is an artist who also draws manga.

The exhibition features original works by contemporary manga artists such as Shiriagari Kotobuki, Yokoyama Yuichi, Nishijima Daisuke, Igarashi Daisuke, Okadaya Tetuzoh, Ichikawa Haruka, and KYO Machiko. Mangakas from different eras also find their place. Uagawa Kuniyoshi, Oei (the master’s daughter), Suguira Hinako, Sakura Sawa, Okadaya Tetuzoh, Saeki Konosuke, and Kamimura Kazuo, among others, are on display.

The story of Utagawa Kunisada and his lover Tokubee is vibrant and colorful and features Japanese inscriptions throughout its length and width. It is imbued with the delicate and expressive emotions of the four women in kimono who adorn the room. The complexity of their feelings can only be felt in silence.

The exhibition offers a breakdown of the significant panels, speech bubbles and onomatopoeia used in manga comics. For example, each onomatopoeia employed contains intricate designs, a brocade of emotions distilled into the font and presentation. Suzuki Mitsuzaki’s Introduction to Girls’ Comics is one of those pieces that ebbs and flows with sound and sizzle.

The innocent toys of contemporary artist KYO Machiko presents a mosaic of daily activities that produces curious overlaps. A pastiche at best, the piece features fragments of people and objects that together depict the dizzying worlds that make and break us.

The exhibit creates a space for the public to observe the evolving details and subject matter that punctuate manga past and present. He seeks to celebrate the subjects that define the boundaries of the art form.

Ukiyo-e translates to “pictures of the floating world”. Ukiyo-e laid the foundation for the Manga movement in Japan. The tradition was followed by the master Hokusai The Great Wave off Kanagawa and the artist Hiroshige The Fifty-three Stations of Tokaido. Manga is a collection of all things flimsy, whimsical, funny, prosaic, and entertaining. It opens up a courageous and revolutionary artistic foray into a world that transforms the ephemeral into something enduring, enduring and artistic.

Manga Hokusai is until October 28 at Lalit Kala Akademi, Greams Road.

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